The Euphoria of a Wild Dolphin Encounter


The Euphoria of a Wild Dolphin Encounter

by Roberta Goodman

We long to repeat moments with dolphins. There are encounters so intimate, revealing, touching and exquisite, but all we can do is relive them in memory. Dolphin memories haunt otherwise mundane lives. Dolphin memories remain fresh and perpetuate a desire for more. We want more! Greedy for more of the best and more from even the best. Just a hair’s breath closer and she would’ve crushed me! Just a daring, soft move and she would’ve been embraced in my arms. A little longer moment, a slip through the crack of the cosmic egg, and we would have known each other transparently, as understood as clearly as with anyone ever before…

Touched, known, heard, understood, embraced, loved, healed, and held by a dolphin – the closest to heaven an earthly encounter may offer with someone without a name.

No name for her or him other than the generalized Dolphin. No word for the level of trust and acceptance, the strangeness yet familiarity; the pleasure and incomprehension mix until you must Let Go.

You may be held by a dolphin’s gaze, or frozen by a dolphin’s warning. Time may stop or slow. The world may shift in your encounter with this equal and alien sentience as you recognize the truth beyond words. The dolphin’s mind is stretchy and may turn inside out to enclose yours. Neuron to neuron, understanding is revealed but not explained; experienced, but not defined; felt intimately, but not proven; and in that moment, we accept. In a rush, our mastery is dwarfed. In a whole, our competition is naught. Enclosed by the dolphin’s mind, we shrink to one neuron of intelligence and one synopsis of wisdom – linking to the periphery of the dolphin’s immensity. This one synapse is pure joy, pure heart, pure sensuality, aching for a response, aching for the arch over to speed down dolphin body. We become one neuron, Go or No Go, one bridge to cross and all the fire wanting to reach the other side. Desire hope vision nerves, tuned to the synapse – “Go!”

“Hear me! Feel me! See me! Know me!” -- Pleas for recognition, understanding, acknowledgement.

A god in the waters swimming circles around us. Hear our fervent prayers! Be with me! I am yours! You are what I have missed my entire life! You are what we can never be! You are power and grace and silky smoothness. You are love and trust and the vibrancy of Mother Ocean. You are as we would wish others to be – playful, carefree, hopeful, daring, irreverent, nude and sensual, flirtative and respectful.

No hands, no commands, no reins, no control.

Freedom without prison.

Masters without rulers.

Cooperation without coercion.

Voices without conversation.

Introversion without alienation.

Introspection enjoyed en masse.

Let’s go within, and within we will find each other, togetherness.

Trinities of joined heart and mind.

And the human yearns to reach into that matrix of joined trinities.

Humans who have been touched by the reality of dolphins long to bring that awareness to human life. Bonded by shared dolphin contact, we glimpse the closeness of the pod in our midst. We resolve to reoccurances of the touch of dolphinness – within ourselves, with each other. Then plunge into the sea to seek it again in its original state – among dolphins. Among dolphins in a state of grace, among dolphins while moods converge to bring once again the intimacy, the intimacy of a dolphin’s non-physical touch.

Not-quite-physical contact with dolphins is like nonverbal communication between people. In most wild encounters, it is the entirety of the experience – we have no physical contact, and yet the language only suggested by movement is rich and complete. Accepting that the dolphins won’t, hardly, touch us, yet knowing their highly sensual nature must yearn to feel our touch as we do theirs, is a constant tension of dolphin encounters. Touch separated by millimeters is exquisite, flirtatious, rewarding, yearned. The dissolution of those millimeters, firm contact, is the unrelinquished love. Skin to skin, a fleeting brush of dolphin skin, is the lure.

For the most part, the most intimate of dolphin encounters is a solitary experience. Other humans have vanished. The only consciousness is of the dolphin. Rarely do humans join the midst of a dolphin pod while holding hands with other humans. Rarely do human minds connect and then connect with the pod while swimming. While swimming, we usually reside deeply in our separate minds and bodies, within our own desires, experiences and encounters. All consciousness of others dissipates in the wake.

We are fortunate in Hawaii to often be in the midst of a couple hundred dolphin individuals, in clear, warm waters, with many more dolphins than people. Even if we enter the water with a large group of people from a boat, we often find ourselves alone with the intense attention of a few dolphins. People and dolphins scatter into small groups with a wide variety of experiences happening all at once. Your own little pod may stay together and within sight for an hour. Twenty people can easily get separated among 200 dolphins.

For some of us involved in introducing people to dolphins, we are satisfied to facilitate the encounters using the best of our abilities balanced with deep respect for the dolphin culture. We are happy when everyone has had a lasting eye to eye meeting. We use what we know to bring the dolphins to people, using gentle persuasion to elevate the encounter. We build towards longer, more interactive encounters by imbuing people with respect and patience, by responding appropriately to our interpretation of body behavior from the dolphins.

It is important to recognize and respond to communication efforts from the dolphins. If we interpret a tail slap from a dolphin to be directed at us and indicating a pressure one of them feels from us, by giving them more space we will be returning a message that their behavior has affects on us.

Interacting with dolphins in the wild, we have opportunities to communicate uniquely and intuitively. We can avoid the tendency to try and train wild dolphins or to block what our minds and hearts tell us. Gaining and using new knowledge about dolphin lives, needs and challenges, we can pursue deepening relationships with spontaneity and respect, promoting benefits for both species.

My most ecstatic event with wild dolphins opened a door with new purpose for my life beyond it.

I have been euphoric swimming with dolphins, alone and far from our terrestrial world. Bursting in laughter, saturated with revelation, honored with extreme closeness and even touch, I have basked in a euphoric halo, a cone of grace surrounds us, a peace of heaven in the sears, dolphins, like my long lost family, embrace me. These experiences filled me with more yearning to be so close. Solitary swims and lengthy encounters were sought and appreciated.

But it was ecstatic moments with an autistic boy, fins rising around us, which fully opened a new door for me.


To read about this experience involving autism and dolphins click here

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