DREAM TIME WITH THE DOL­PHINS

Cruising World - - Underway -

We were cruis­ing north along the coast of Aus­tralia, and rarely had we ex­pe­ri­enced seas this peace­ful — the sur­face all silky, heavy and smooth, dis­turbed only by del­i­cate pat­terns of tiny rip­ples, the very be­gin­ning of waves born from a gen­tle gust. And never be­fore had we sailed with dol­phins surf­ing within a per­fect re­flec­tion of Dream Time, two very dif­fer­ent worlds sep­a­rated only by a bub­bling white wake — our re­al­ity above; a peace­ful en­chanted world be­low. One where two dol­phins, com­pan­ions, danced closely to­gether, twist­ing and weav­ing within the shad­ows and re­flec­tions of our bow, each tak­ing turns to im­press us with their grace and abil­ity be­fore rolling to the side.

Since we left New York in 2007 to cruise around the world, my wife, Cather­ine, and I have sailed Dream Time more than 32,600 nau­ti­cal miles. Our loyal 1981 Cabo Rico has car­ried us safely across vast oceans to re­mote, un­in­hab­ited trop­i­cal is­lands, to dis­tant cul­tures, and deep into re­gions and ex­pe­ri­ences we never knew ex­isted. For 10 mag­i­cal years, we have ex­plored our world to­gether, very slowly, one day at a time, and the nat­u­ral won­ders we have dis­cov­ered on this voy­age are among our most val­ued trea­sures. It’s a life rich in ex­pe­ri­ence, chal­lenge and re­ward, where the mo­ment is warmly em­braced and sa­vored — a state of be­ing that we rarely achieved in New York — and we find our­selves deep in grat­i­tude.

The soft echoes of whistling an­nounced the ar­rival of other dol­phins, in­clud­ing a mother with her calf, sur­fac­ing in the sun­light, then div­ing down in wa­ter so clear and still that they seemed to float in space. Then, with a burst of daz­zling sparkles and a rush of breath, the dol­phins sur­faced to join our re­al­ity. For al­most an hour we watched the dol­phins from our bow, record­ing the mo­ment to mem­ory, washed with a pro­found joy.

And at times, when our re­flec­tion blended so del­i­cately and nat­u­rally with the dol­phins’ pres­ence, it was impossible to tell where their world ended and ours be­gan. — Neville Hock­ley

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