When I was a child, dolphins were a world away from us, despite our proximity to the sea. On Rathlin Island in County Antrim, Ireland, we were blessed with bods of seals and the occasional excitement of spotting the jet black sheen of a porpoise briefly appearing from the dazzling seawater.
Dolphins, though, are now regular visitors to the loose blues of our sea and they frequently ride in procession alongside the Rathlin ferry boats, favouring the darting speed of the Express that seems to bring out the fun in these stunning animals.
Over the last few weeks I’ve been captivated, watching them from the shoreline as they follow the meandering curves of the island, piercing like shards of light through the water’s surface when there are visitors to entertain. Their broad backs lumber into the air with ease and the louder the passengers squeal the heartier their race.
There may be increased sightings of these joyous creatures but there’s never any complacency. With each and every encounter I am as excited as a child, their long noses pushing into the surf making me feel that little bit more alive than the moment before the waves broke.
If you look down from the ferry boat, the sea is beaming with satisfied reflections. Long may their urgency to entertain continue.
I took both the header image and this one below from on board the Spirit of Rathlin ferry from Rathlin Island.