Many venues offer swimming with dolphins – usually, customers get in a pool with trained, captive dolphins that do tricks at their trainers’ commands, allowing visitors to hold on to a fin and get pulled along. Other places provide the more interactive experience of swimming with captive dolphins. But Bimini Undersea is one of only a few dive centers in the world where guests swim alongside wild dolphins in their natural habitat.
You and your friends meet up with the captain and staff at Bimini Bay Resort to get geared up with fins and snorkels, and soon after, you’re on the boat and on the lookout for dolphins. You don’t have to wait long: Your group spots a small pod of Atlantic spotted dolphins, and you can’t help but shout with excitement as you first see them. They look like Flipper, only more stout, and dappled with darker gray spots. Time to put on those goggles, because you’re about to go swimming with some wild dolphins.
Aflutter with nervous excitement, you hop in the water and swim over to the pod — and find yourself being inspected by one or two of the dolphins, who seem to be staring at you. Up close, you are struck by the power and grace they exhibit in the water. They are massive creatures, but they glide through the water effortlessly. Their size might be intimidating at first, but it is clear that they are only curious, not at all aggressive. You use your flippers to dive and swim alongside your new friends, and they nimbly swim in a loop around you. The captain encouraged everyone to play with the dophins, so you surface and retrieve a bright red scarf from the boat. Toss it over to one of the dolphins, and she catches it on her nose, flips over in the water, and pushes it back. Suddenly, amazingly, you’re playing catch with a dolphin — several dolphins, in fact. Others join in, passing the scarf between themselves before returning it to you. You notice that the pod has grown: More and more dolphins are churning around your group, diving and playing. It’s a surreal feeling, and you don’t want it to end.
When it’s sadly time to go, you make your way toward the boat and turn back to give last wave goodbye. One of the dolphins gives you one final, friendly look before swimming away. You’ll definitely remember this moment for the rest of your life. Hopefully, in some way, your new friends will remember you, too.