Dolphins are a regular encounter when you visit Komodo or any of the other islands that Mermaid II visit during our voyage from Bali to Komodo and back, though most of the encounters are had as they ride the bow of the boat. Even though dolphins have a reputation for being one of the most inquisitive and ‘friendliest’ creatures in the underwater world, the dolphins in Komodo and the surrounding islands are one hundred percent wild. They have never familiarized with humans via food or any other bonding
method, leaving them free from any of the negative side effects that happen when people start tampering with wild animals and their natural way of life. Why do I tell you all this? Well, because these are wild, highly intelligent animals, with an inherent wariness for human beings, it makes it so much more special when you have a completely natural underwater encounter with these beautiful animals.
During a dive at Castle Rock we could see a small pod of these wild Komodo dolphins hunting on the surface just off of the dive site. Even as we back rolled in we could see their shark like fins cutting though the water just meters away. Expecting to be greeted by Flipper once we emerged into their blue realm, we were a bit dismayed as there was only a school of big eye jacks to welcome us on our descent. Just several minutes later though as we watched the school jacks it seemed that all the fish in the ocean, including the jacks which are a top predator in the ocean, scattered in an audible woosh and we were left with nothing but blue water and three very large dolphins. If I didn’t have a piece of tempered glass separating my hands from my eyes I would have rubbed them to make sure I was seeing clearly. They were defiantly there though and casually swam just a few meters in front of us for several minutes!
After they drifted into the blue and the schools of fish felt safe enough to return their normal routine it was as if that magical encounter had just been something from our imagination. The only confirmation of the event actually took place was the sound of them exhaling though their blow holes and their shiny backs as we watched them continue their hunt from the dinghy after the dive. An encounter with a wild animal that has been habituated to humans is special, don’t get me wrong. But there is something truly special about a ‘real’ wild animal feeling comfortable enough with your presence and allow you to be side by side with it, even if it’s just for a minute or two.
Mermaid II Bali-Komodo-Bali Scuba Diving Cruise
September 17-24, 2016