One of my very favorite mammals is the dolphin. They are clever, resourceful, and magnificent, in spite of the fact that the males tend to be quite discourteous towards their females. Today isn’t about their living habits, however; its about the simple joy of being able to see them up-close on the Sunset Dolphin Tour while vacationing on Jekyll Island last week.
A little background first. Prior to my recent family trip, I hadn’t seen dolphins in their natural environment since 2004. Beforehand, I’d regularly seen them while kayaking in coastal Georgia, and it always excited me to spot a dorsal fin surfacing from the murky depths of the channel. Of all the coastal Georgia marine life, they continue to charm and amaze me.
One might wonder why I didn’t go back to see them for six years, but it is a simple matter of math. My daughter is five now, and she is only recently getting to an age where she is able participate in some of our travel adventures. An odd fact about me: My baby did not stay overnight anywhere without me for the first two years after she was born, and even then, she only spent a few hours total with a family member. I felt that she needed me more than I needed travel, and so I sacrificed without hesitation. In my heart, and as evidenced in the intense bond I share with my daughter, the decision was the right one.
Now, I’m back to my adventures, and it feels as if I never missed a beat. Travel is a bit more aggravating at times as a parent, but it’s rewarding to see my daughter enjoying her childhood and learning wonderful things about so many different places. The best types of educational moments are the ones found out in the wild world, and there is nothing that you will find in a book that isn’t best experienced firsthand. As soon as we boarded The Oglethorpe, I knew great memories were in the making.
Jamie, the captain’s wife, quickly made everyone on-board feel at ease, and it quickly became clear that she knew the area, knew the waters and wildlife, and loved talking about about it all. Even while waiting for dolphins, there were no dull moments. When Jamie wasn’t dazzling us with facts about dolphins and Jekyll Island, her husband, Captain Adam entertained with his quirky sense of humor. He’s a big, burly man who seems at ease joking about himself, and he appears to love coastal Georgia as much as his wife. Their enthusiasm spread like wildfire, and I think everyone loved it. I know my family did.
We didn’t see manatees on The Sunset dolphin Tour–even though there is one who likes to hang out near the docks near Jekyll Marina, but we did see a number of dolphins frolicking playfully and torpedoing gleefully through the water during the hour-and-a-half long escapade. We enjoyed a rare bald eagle sighting and learned about the surrounding area, including St. Andrew’s Sound, Shark’s Tooth Beach, Driftwood beach, and Cumberland Island.
Jamie shared so much information my brain shorted-circuited, and I can’t remember everything. No matter, the experience amazed us. Oh, and did I mention that the cost of the Sunset dolphin tours are ridiculously inexpensive? Go if you get the opportunity, and if you’ve been “dolphin touring” on vacation.
That’s all I have for now, and tomorrow’s post will concern the plight of the sea turtles. Fortunately, there are folks like Jamie and Adam to educate people about the sea turtles on Jekyll Island, and I’m hoping that my next post will help spread the word.
What do you know about sea turtle conservancy? Tell me in the comments!