Published: January 20th 2009October 29th 2008
Snorkeling in Bora Bora
View from the zodiacs with the MV Clipper Odyssey in the distance
Today I shared the water with Polynesian bottle nosed dolphins!! We were out in the zodiac scouting for a drift snorkeling site when I saw a fin in the water - then two then three. All of a sudden a dolphin jumped into the air three feet from the zodiac! We were driving through a channel in Rangiroa, the second largest atoll in the Marquesas.
We were looking to see how quickly the water was rushing into the lagoon to see if it might be suitable for snorkeling. When we arrived, the water was moving so rapidly that there were 4-5 ft swells in the channel. So we were surfing the waves in the zodiac and the dolphins were doing the same! We would weave in and out and they followed on our bow, friskily speeding ahead and leaping out of the water. The pod consisted of around ten dolphins, all out having a good time. We stayed with them only feet away from us for ten or fifteen minutes before we had to get back to report the conditions.
Later in the morning we returned to the same spot after the tide slowed down a bit to take the passengers snorkeling. First we saw a turtle as we started to drift, then some puffer fish, needle fish, angelfish, even a barracuda! Everybody sing...-oooooooh barracuda! (I digress) Then as we were taking the pax back to another snorkeling site, the dolphins returned and I was able to get into the water with one! He was only around for a second but took a look and a quick swim and he was gone. But wow, I got to swim with a dolphin! Have I mentioned how much I love my job?
I am now on my third trip aboard the Odyssey. My first two trips with Zegrahm from Tahiti to Fiji and back are completed and I am now working with a different charterer (Abercrombie & Kent) and heading East from Tahiti into the Marquesas islands. My job is becoming more fun as I am now understanding how the ship works, how the roles work together and how I fit into all of that. I'm becoming good at dealing with local "tour guides" who are often just someone's cousin who heard a boat was coming into town. Sometimes you end up at his grocery store and ask what cultural significance this has and he just looks at you and says, "I need to buy batteries." Too funny! I'm starting to ask the right questions and discover interesting things about the local cultures, which helps to make the experience better for the passengers, as well as me. I'm thinking on my feet and starting to have good ideas and suggestions. (At least I hope so!) Basically I'm just feeling more comfortable and more like I know what I am doing. Being an assistant cruise director will constantly change as the different cruise directors come on board and change my role. But that is part of the fun. I get to learn from each company, each expedition leader and cruise director. It's fascinating!