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Explorer Jon Bowermaster sends dispatches from the deep South (Pacific).
Dispatch 7: Big Day on the Seas
October 24, 2002
[Note: Nationalgeographic.com does not research or copyedit field dispatches.]
…in Pukapuka we hooked up with a local fisherman named Rafael who said he knew where we could find dolphins. We went out onto the ocean and went halfway round the atoll, and, sure enough, all of a sudden there were a half-dozen, ten dolphins all around the boat.
We slowed down and Alex, Pete, and I jumped into the water and within minutes the dolphinsso curious about uswere up nudging us. We were petting them. Alex had the great experience of tickling one of these dolphins and then just kind of looking him straight in the eyes. This is not SeaWorld. This is the middle of the South Pacific. So these are wild animals with absolutely no fear of usjust incredible curiosity.
It got even better. As these dolphins swam around us, we looked below and there is a 30- to 35-foot [9- to 11-meter] whale swimming underneath us, rolling onto its back. It kind of looks up at us, curious as well. It hung around and swam with us for half an hoursomething that Rafael, who’s lived on Pukapuka all his life, said he’d never seen.
On the way back to shore as the sun went down things got almost better as we were surrounded by a school of a flying fish, which literally come out out of the water alongside the boat as we're racing through the big seas and fly along the side. It was a big day on the seas that day.
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