Inspired by Capt. Bill Brucato’s cetacean video, here’s a photo essay that provides a front row seat to one of nature’s very best shows: wild dolphins riding the bow wave and launching themselves airborne with joyful abandon. They were taken this past June in the Gulf Stream, off the Atlantic Coast of Florida, while we were on our way to the Gulf of Mexico for the Deepwater Horizon response. My crew and I brought the boat and barge from New York to Philadelphia for outfitting, then south for the Gulf, making it as far as Port Everglades before it was time to go home. We enjoyed beautiful weather the whole way. Sea conditions ranged from slick calm to gentle: even off Cape Hatteras they never went above a very comfortable 3-5 feet. Being able to get this close to these beautiful, intelligent animals in their natural habitat is a privilege that has to be experienced to be fully appreciated. Close enough to be soaked when they splash down. Close enough to smell, and get misted by, their breath when they come up for air. Only a tiny fraction of the nearly 7 billion (and growing) humans on this over-crowded earth will ever get to see sights like this for themselves: compared to the mob scene ashore, there’s just not that many of us out here on the deep blue. This is a fringe benefit of the seafaring life that is impossible to put a price tag on. The spectacular sunrise off PE on crew change morning was merely extra icing on the cake.
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