On passage in the Adriatic and Ionian Seas between Primosten, Croatia, and the Straits of Messina, we saw a lot of dolphins — as we have all over the world. Most of the time, though, by the time I grab the camera they are gone. This Adriatic pod stayed with us for a while, playing in our bow wake and appearing to respond to a whistle I was blowing (which I edited out of the soundtrack, by the way, to avoid driving everybody crazy). We were moving at about 7.5 knots, and they paced us effortlessly. Often it looked like they were just gliding.
Most of the video was shot while we hung over our bow pulpit (at the very front of the boat) looking down at the dolphins surfing on the wake in the water just ahead of us and just underneath the bow of the boat. The odd-shaped metal thing that sometimes comes up on the screen is our anchor, in its position stored on the bow-roller.
Dolphins’ eyes are on the sides of their heads. From time to time when they swim with us, they will turn on their sides and look up — checking us out while we’re checking them out. Eye contact with a dolphin is a very special interaction. I have tried all kinds of things to keep their attention — singing arias in the highest key I can manage, playing rock music very loud, shouting & clapping, moving around wildly on deck, and blowing a whistle in a rhythmic manner. Until I thought of the whistle, the best reaction by far was to the high notes of the aria. In the Indian Ocean, we had a pod of about a dozen that would all stick their heads out of the water simultaneously whenever I hit (or tried to hit, anyway) a really high note. I’m pretty sure they were laughing at me.
But blowing a whistle is by far the best dolphin-attention-attracting device I have tried. They looked up at us a lot and stayed with us for a longer time. Or maybe that was entirely coincidental. I will just emphasize that I know absolutely nothing about dolphins — only what I observe when we happen to come across them. And often they are feeding and ignore us completely.