In the previous issue of AMURA 94, we enjoyed the story told by professional diver Alberto Friscione and his experience among sharks. Here, he tells us another unforgettable encounter, this time with Atlantic spotted dolphins.

The ship’s captain told us of a place, not far from where we were (Freeport, in the Bahamas), which is the ideal spot for interacting with Atlantic spotted dolphins. The suggestion was so attractive and sea conditions so good, that we decided to leave immediately to try our luck. We raised anchors.



After several hours of sailing, we arrived late at night, to a point in the ocean set amid the blue ocean ... or in the middle of oceanic nowhere, if preferred. The Captain, calm as the seaman who he is, got out from the storage of the ship some powerful submarine spotlights and hung them on the side of the boat. As they were lit, fish and squid came after the larvae attracted by the lights, which gathered by the thousands.


We watched from the deck, and were amazed of how the sea became alive. Suddenly, a sailfish and a beautiful spotted dolphin appeared. Several of my colleagues were ready with visor and camera in hand, as for the rest; it took us a little longer to get in our wetsuits. We jumped into the water and instantly we were facing one of the most incredible marine shows I have seen in my life.  Atlantic spotted dolphins hunting flying fish. Its swift skill was such that when a small fish rose out of the water, a magnificent dolphin calculated with exact precision the point of reentry and almost caught it before it fell.

Among everything we saw, what marveled me the most was a mother dolphin teaching her little one, with great patience, the difficult task of procuring food. It was a wonderful, lucky opportunity to witness this lesson, a magical moment. We returned on board after midnight, cold and tired but with a cheerful spirit.

At dawn we were in different waters. We were navigating in a clear and shallow sea. The golden sunlight was filtering through the mirror of the blue sea, giving us clear images of those beautiful Atlantic spotted dolphins we were looking for. At this point I want to say that encounters with dolphins in their natural environment are becoming more sporadic, and if by any chance you find them, they rarely interact with humans. But that was not the case in this story, about 12 to 15 dolphins in a group, came and played with us.




Atlantic spotted dolphins are gorgeous animals. Our captain said one can count up to 50 dolphins together in open sea, but in these shallow banks, you will find no more than 15 and most of the time they are the same. They come to this specific spot in search of their favorite food, some varieties of fish and cephalopods.

As they approached we could see their spots all over their body. They are more distinguishable in adults; the young ones are light gray in color. I was very curious to learn more about these species, but now the only thing that I could think of, was the enjoyment of their friendship and had to accept their invitation to play. They played especially with one of our guides, Travis, whom they know well. They wait, with great disposition for Travis who makes a series of pirouettes, then the dolphins mimic him, and they play with a rag passing it to each other while making some sounds which seemed to me sounds of joy.

I was so happy in the water watching this amazing show, that for a moment I thought it was unreal. But, Oh my God! It was true!.

After this extraordinary experience, a true gift from the sea, I can only say that, I am convinced that I am on the right track by trying to save this and other species with every means in my power. I did not feel the least fear by swimming at night among these many dolphins in their wild habitat, but rather, I felt humbled by their beauty and friendly coexistence.



Text:  Alberto Friscione Carrascosa ± Photo: Alberto Friscione Carrascosa