Swimming with a Dolphin

dolphin closeupIf someone had told me beforehand that it would be in the cold, murky waters of the Atlantic along the west coast of Ireland that I would going swimming with a wild dolphin, I wouldn’t have believed them. I had spent a good amount of time in Ireland before I learned that the about 100 Bottlenosed Dolphins use the estuary at the mouth of the Shannon River to give birth and shelter their young during the summer months.

A lone female Bottlenosed Dolphin has frequented a 20 mile stretch of coast not far from the Shannon for the past ten years. About ten years ago the singer Dusty Springfield’s ashes were sprinkled off the nearby cliffs and when the dolphin appeared later that year, the locals named her Dusty. For the past three years Dusty has spent much of the year in the harbor where the ferries to the Aran Islands load and unload passengers. I’ve witnessed a hundred people standing on the pier watching the dolphin and each one of them smiling in delight. I could feel their hearts open as mine always did whenever I was near her, whether I was in the water or not.

I called her an emissary of dolphin kind. Other people who spent time with her had that same sense that she had a job to do. She would swim out to greet the incoming ferries and escort the outbound boats to the tip of Crab Island that helped define the harbor. She would swim over to greet anyone who entered the water even if just wading in. Then there were a number of people who came on a regular basis to swim with her who had the skill to play with her underwater. She especially seemed to value that connection. I am a reluctant swimmer so I like it best when I could visit with her from the cement steps that lead down from the pier into the sea. When the water was calm she would come close, tilt her head so that one eye was focused on me and I was always filled with amazement and joy. All I could think of was how beautiful she was. I eventually bought a wetsuit and plunged into the frigid water not so much to swim with her which was beyond my ability but just to be more fully in her presence which always held me in the present moment and expanded me in ways I probably won’t ever fully understand.

I spent several months around her and while I am now back on the other side of world close to the Pacific Ocean of my birth, the presence of dolphin lives in my imagination, swims in my mind’s eye as her joyousness buoys my spirit and expands my awareness even from a distance. She reminds me to play. And I sense the message dolphins bring to us all, whether we have ever seen one or swum with one, is to connect to the playful, expansive being we are here to be; to swim in our creative juices and be more than we think we can be.

If you enjoyed this article subscribe to my free monthly newsletter. Just click on the Mail List Subscribe tab in the column on the left, enter your email and I’ll send you a free eBooklet Setting Your Creativity Free.

Leave a Reply