3 Life-Changing Cetacean Encounters

I’ve been swimming with wild dolphins and whales for the past 25 years. It is a gift to be in the sea with these wild and free beings, I am ongoingly inspired and blessed to spend time with them.

Not everyone has the opportunity to get to the sea. Yet, thru pictures, video and stories, we can share the experience with those who are curious or drawn. Just as astronauts have given us a window into the world of space, and transformed our view of our planet as a result, it is my hope that my words and video give you the blessings of the ocean and the cetaceans.

Some of my encounters have been profoundly life-changing. Here are three that continue to inspire me. It is my joy to share them with you!

UPDATE: DEAR CETACEAN SUMMIT PARTICIPANTS, due to a malfunctioning hard drive there is a delay in posting the intended content for you. My apologies. In the interim, please enjoy my first viral dolphin video with 9+ million views, just click on the photo below.

My very first dolphin encounter, Ahihi Bay, Maui

This is the story of the first time i swam with a pod of wild dolphins. Friends told me about their experience swimming with dolphins in Hawaii, and i had an incredibly strong pull to go. Here is the story of what happened that day, that ended up changing the course of my life…

Kealakekua Bay, Big Island of Hawaii:

This bay is considered sacred by the ancient Hawaiians, and it has become sacred to me as well. I’ve had many magical experiences here, and one that stays with me is shared here.

“You are a young species” Humpback Whale message, Maui, Hawaii

I have spent at least ten winters kayaking with the humpback whales in Maui. I would average six hours out on the water, and many days would get to visit with an average of four or more mother and calf pairs. On this particular day i had spent many hours in the water with them, listending to their singing and having moms bring their calves over. It was getting dark and had a ways to paddle to get to shore. It got quite dark by the time i was getting close, but the shoreline was lit up by a mile long string of car lights; a two way traffic jam on the highway next to the shore.

As i’m paddling back to land, i’m filled with hesitancy. i don’t want to go! Its a common feeling for me; to have to leave the expansiveness, the sense of kinship and the beauty of the ocean and the whales, and return to the world of people, with their social structures and expectations and busyness. I still feel this dichotomy, going from nature back to the world of man.

The evening traffic jam is a common sight; tourists and workers going from one part of the island to another over a narrow road. The white and red car lights felt glaring, offensive, like the horns each car was capable of sounding. I start to judge the mess we’ve made of the world, and my mind lists a whole bunch of messes we’ve made in the world.

Now i’m angry, at myself and our whole species. Why do we have to be so damn destructive? How is it everything we do turns out for the worse? I’m even angry at humanity for ruining the great mood i was in earlier.