With our baby set to join us soon, we've been trying to do as much baby-oriented research as possible. So aside from maternity photos in Hawaii recently, we also spent a great deal of time in the ocean for research purposes. We tested last summer how dolphins (and sharks) responded to me being pregnant. Dolphins are extremely social and sentient beings, so naturally they have great maternal instincts. They can also literally “see” your baby with their echolocation. These clicks and whistles send the dolphin information that creates a type of “hologram” in the dolphin’s brain, and they can see the shape and size of our baby. They may also be the only beings that know if it’s a boy or a girl! ;)
Our main goal was to see how dolphins reacted to me in the water, and if they would echolocate towards me or give me any more attention. We had a few encounters with super social spinner dolphins, and although I had a few close, curious passes, they were in resting mode for the most part so we didn’t want to push them. Bottlenose dolphins on the other hand, are not known for being overly social in the wild. In fact, most of the time, they give us a quick look before immediately moving on. On our first drop with them, that’s exactly what they did. So we tried again, and on the 2nd drop, they had a chance to echolocate at me. All of a sudden, 3 of the dolphins turned a complete circle and came back towards me, seemingly curious and intrigued. We don’t know for sure if it’s because of our baby, but they definitely stopped to echolocate and make eye contact with us.
It’s truly so special to share time and space in the wide-open ocean with these majestic creatures. Unfortunately, bottlenose dolphins are the main dolphins that are found in captivity. It’s heartbreaking that swim-with-dolphin programs are still in existence – these intelligent marine mammals are treated so poorly in captivity, and they deserve to be wild and free. If they want to interact with us in the ocean on their terms, there is truly nothing more spectacular or beautiful. It takes your breath away, and I’m so glad I got to share this experience with good friends, my husband, and my sister. More photos coming soon!