Extraordinary Encounters with Dolphins
BILL VAN ARSDALE
For the past dozen years, Amlas McLeod has been leading wild dolphin encounters in Bimini, Bahamas, enabling swimmers to experience transformative changes through encounters with this extraordinary marine mammal.
“Wild dolphins often enjoy interacting with boats, but most are not interested in being close to humans. As soon as you get into the water, they disappear,” McLeod explains. “The Atlantic spotted dolphin species near Bimini is unusual in that they are comfortable connecting with people, and seem to enjoy it as much as we do. Amazingly, they actually include us in their pod activities during these encounters.”
These spotted dolphins often swim very close to the boat, jumping up or turning to get a better view of folks on McLeod’s catamaran. Once overboard, swimmers revel in how the animals playfully move and twirl amongst them and often come within inches as they glide by slowly enough to make prolonged eye contact.
“You cannot help but get the sense that you are interacting with a highly sentient being; the feeling of direct connection is remarkable,” says McLeod. “I am most affected by my quiet connections with the elders that will just hang in the water with me. Sometimes, they will close their eyes and simply rest at my side. Their presence is one of total, unqualified acceptance.”
People who swim so intimately with these dolphins depart feeling they have “met the master,” as McLeod puts it. Comments from guests returned via TripAdvisor.com (Tinyurl.com/7n8khqf) report how the experience puts them back in touch with who they really are and empowers them to make changes in their lives. “Connecting with these special dolphins somehow brings us into the ‘here and now’ in a profound way,” says McLeod. “We drop out of the mind and into the heart. There is this feeling of expansion, connection and being one with everything. When people return home, they often report that they have started to let go of things in their lives that no longer serve them, allowing them to become more true to themselves.”
For more information, visit WildQuest.com.
Bill Van Arsdale is a contributing writer who recently swam with the dolphins near Bimini.