1. We were in the wild. The boat had to go find the pods of dolphins. They weren't in some pool at Sea World or the likes, and they weren't trained. They say on some days they can't find the dolphins (though it's rare), and on some days they're not interested in interacting with the humans. We got lucky on both accounts.
2. These are called dusky dolphins. We also saw a swarm of baby crayfish and a large mud crab floating in the water while we were swimming, and we spotted a little blue penguin and an albatross from the boat.
3. We got to snorkel with these dolphins not just once, but five times! The boat would pull up to a pod of dolphins, let us out, call us back in when the dolphins had moved on, and then go find another pod.
4. The pods of dolphins had hundreds (literally hundreds!) of dolphins in them. They estimated 200-300 in each pod!
5. When you weren't swimming with them, you could watch the dolphins jumping. They put on quite a show! Some seemed to find it especially fun to flip into the air and go slamming down into the water. I guess it's their version of a belly flop?
6. When you were swimming with the dolphins, it was amazing. Tons of them would swim right around you, under you, past you, etc. I could even hear their noises underwater-kind of like squeaks. Speaking of noises, they told us that dolphins are attracted to noises and that we should sing or something while snorkeling. This made the dolphins curious, and they would come right near you to check out the noise. It seemed to work, though I sound like a complete idiot on the video below.
7. We didn't get seasick. I can't say the same for about five others on our boat; they were puking their guts out. But I took some seasickness pills before going, and I guess Zack just got lucky. The video below (at least at the start) might give you an idea of how much the boat rocked back and
forth; it does get better and show the dolphins jumping!
Zack and I rank this experience right up there with our crocodile cruise in Kakadu National Park. It was truly amazing, and I'd put it on your must-do list (if possible) while visiting New Zealand. By the way, if you're interested in more pictures or another video, I've started putting all my NZ pictures up on my Shutterfly site. My blog posts are just a small taste of our trip. Anyway, swimming with dolphins rocked!