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Thar She Blows! Dolphins Straight Ahead!

by Shayne Benowitz

A dolphin diving close to the parasail boat

A dolphin diving close to the parasail boat.

This morning, before our first customers, Scotty and I zoomed off to the fuel docks on the parasail boat to fill up in preparation of a busy day of work. As we returned to the Westin Marina, the water in the harbor was tranquil and flat and the air was very still. We slowed down, and I thought to myself that this was the perfect condition to see dolphins.

It was almost a feeling of déjà-vous. Spotting dolphins is common in Key West. Sometimes, we’ll see a pod spring up on the way to the reef. There have even been times when dolphins are at the reef swimming very close to us. During the Ultimate Adventure, we’ve spotted them in the shallow waters of the Northwest Channel.

We see them at all times of day and in any number of conditions: sunny, cloudy, windy. There have been so many times, though, when the water is so calm and the air is so still you feel as though you are all alone in the middle of the peaceful ocean and the dolphins know that no one is around, so they feel very free.

Just as I was thinking of times like this on the water, Scotty pointed in front of the boat. There they were, the dolphins that I had been imagining. Often times, you may catch a brief glimpse before they dive down into the water and that’s it. You never see them again. On special occasions, though, they must be feeling very playful and they swim close to the boat, jump, splash, and surf the wake that we produce.

I never tire of seeing dolphins and I know that many of my captains and fellow mates feel the same way. Every time we spot them, whether we have customers on the boat or are out on the water alone, we slow down in hopes of getting a good look at them. This morning was no exception, and to my delight this pod of dolphins was feeling very playful. I rushed to the bow of the boat and peered in front of us. The whole pod was splashing and playing, and one swam up next to the boat so close I could almost touch him.

The dolphins indigenous to Key West are called Atlantic bottlenose dolphins and they always travel in groups called pods. They have smooth grey skin with a dorsal fin and broad tail. When you’re out with Fury, whether you’re flying through the air on the parasail boat or on your way to snorkel at the reef, you’ll be very lucky if you spot a playful pod of dolphins ready to put on a show for you!

Shayne Benowitz is a Fury crewmember and freelance writer working on her debut novel. For more travel stories and a daily dose of what’s cool around the globe visit her Wanderlust Website at http://web.me.com/shaynebeth.

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