In 2005 my parents and I went to San Deigo to visit a friend.
We’d organised a number of activities to do while we were there and one of them was a planned whale watching trip off the coast.
That day we’d been out for about 2hrs watching and hoping for a sight of the whales but alas they were not to be seen.
After about 3hrs the captain of the boat turned for shore and announced that he was disappointed, we seemed to be out of luck that day, and, in typical fashion, promised a half price return ticket for anyone braving another trip on the water that same season to see the whales.
For us it was not possible; my parents were visiting from Australia and I was visiting from New York where I was living at the time.
Anyway, we’d turned for shore and maybe about a half hour later the engines lulled to a stop.
We all looked around and no one could see anything out of the ordinary, no sight of whales or anything else unusual.
Then, an announcement came over the loudspeaker.
‘Look out towards the horizon, to where the water meets the sky’, the Captian said. ‘Could we see how dark the water was on the far horizon?
We could, but it seemed so far in the distance I couldn’t immage how something so small cound be of interest to us.
Then the captain went on, “keep watching, see how it’s moving. Get your cameras ready, in a matter of minutes we will be surrounded”… Ready for what I wondered, surrounded by what? no tell tail signs of whales could be seen, what could it possibly be?
I had a telephoto lens on my camera, because that’s what you do when you go whale watching, you get the biggest lens you can as often the whales are far away.
Now I quickly realized I had only moments to change my lens to something with for much shorter distances.
Approximately 5000 dolphins were swimming up the coast feeding of a school of sardines coming up the coast from Mexico, and as the sardines swam closer to the shore our boat just happened to be right in the line of fire for the pursuing dolphins.
It was a magnificant sight. I started trying to grab photos as they passed us by, swimming under and round the boat but eventually put my camera to one side in order to appreciate such power and speed on mass.
I’ve never forgotten the thrill I experienced, nor have I forgotten that you don’t always end up with what you thought might be the preferred outcome. The trick is to appreciate what you experienced regardless.