Friday 19 February 2010

Brief Encounter

One early evening many years ago I was floating in a small wooden canoe a few hundred yards off Brighton beach. It was fairly calm. I suddenly became aware of a disturbance in the water to one side and then to the other. Grey humps were briefly breaking surface 10 or so yards away and I realised I was in the middle of a pod of dolphins. I had just had time to feel a fleeting concern that I might be tipped over when one surfaced close alongside.  As it did so it rolled slightly and a knowing mammalian eye seemed to look straight at me. For barely a second we had eye contact and then it was gone, as were its companions. A moment to treasure.


  1. I envy you! The closest I came to something like that was a walk along a Suffolk beach, many years ago, with my dad, my son and a neighbour's small boy. We suddenly became aware that we were being watched. A seal was taking a keen interest in us from a few yards out in the sea. As we walked along it maintained a parallel course for several hundred yards, bobbing up to look at us now and then, before it disappeared.

  2. I know we bring dolphins & seals into our world in aquaria and zoos and interact with them there in various ways but they soon learn to take us for granted. I feel the type of encounter you and I have described, is, although brief, of far greater significance.


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