A brief cruise with a dolphin pod
This is the story of possibly the first time anyone sailed with dolphins on the Wicomico River. The 14-foot catamaran had given us some mechanical difficulties, leading to a one-hour delay. This put us right on schedule for the most amazing sailboat ride.
We put in a quarter-mile upriver from Chaptico wharf, heading west across the river in light wind. There were six of us on the boat, Sean Jean, me (Dan Jean), Sophie, Wyatt, Sam and Charlie. About halfway across, Sean spotted the first two fins a few hundred yards in the distance. As we drew closer, we realized there were more than two — many more. The pod was swimming south, and we were sailing straight toward the center of the group of large animals.
Wyatt (age 7) was very nervous; these were full-grown dolphins, and we were in their element. Some were breaching just to breathe, some were jumping clear out of the water. We estimated their number at 200, mostly full-grown adults, some a little smaller. Several started following our little sailboat, and some surfaced alongside, taking a peek at the occupants of the yellow floating boat.
We turned south to sail straight downwind, going along with the pod for about 20 minutes before turning left to return home. We were close enough to hear them breathe, which sounded like air being sucked through a large straw. After turning, a few broke from the pod to follow us for a few minutes. One came alongside the boat and surfaced, looking at us from 4 feet away; Sean could have touched it with his foot.
As we continued back home, we watched them in the distance as they swam toward the mouth of the Wicomico.
Although not the windiest sailboat ride, it was definitely the most amazing.