Ahead the water of Johnstone Strait boiled. A long line of turbulent water stretching across the far side. Even from the low kayak you could see the disturbance in an otherwise calm sea. Through binoculars, on the bow of the nearby boats you could make out dark leaping shapes. Dolphins, lots of dolphins. Steaming up and down the Strait is a group of well over 300 Pacific white-sided dolphins.
Just over two nautical miles away, across the other side of the smooth expanse of water, the small group of kayakers cautiously paddled out of Blackney Passage. They pause a short distance from shore, not willing to go too far into the middle of the Strait where motor boats and cruise ships travel. The dolphins remain distant, a mass of white frothing water, the occasional dark body leaping clear and creating an even bigger splash.
Turning, the kayakers slowly head up the Strait reluctantly leaving the dolphins away to the left. Then something ahead catches the eye, the glint of sun reflecting against a dark back, a smooth sickle shaped dorsal fin slices through the water, followed by another. Part of the group has turned and in the blink of an eye, or the dip of a paddle, crossed the Strait. The small group crosses ahead of the kayakers and then turns. Hearts beat faster, paddles slow, and swoosh three or four dolphins surface within meters.
Suddenly the whole group appears around us. Dolphins on all sides leaping clear, surfacing four, five or six abreast, in perfect synchrony. Exclamations of delight burst forth, an irrepressible, instinctive reaction to so many dolphins leaping almost jubilantly around us. It is impossible to know where to look, as we crane our necks one way and then another. Then someone yells ‘beneath!’ Looking down into the dark water and beneath the kayak are dolphins! Gracefully they twist and turn, seemingly looking back up at us as we gaze down at them.
Time seems to slow, the encounter feels like it lasts a lifetime, a slow motion play of events….then almost as quickly as they all appeared the dolphins are gone. We look up, time speeds back up to normal, and we see the group once again churning down the Strait.
Another fabulous adventure with Kingfisher Wilderness Adventures….