Blue water, blue water, blue water, black water? “Whale shark!” Captain Anthony and I jumped up in unison, all chat forgotten, as we leapt to the side of the boat, eyes fixed on the dark shape under the waves, longer than our vessel.
We were chugging along in Anthony’s boat, following St Helena’s north-west coast back to Jamestown, the island’s capital, and the seas were proving busy.
We watched as St Helena’s resident pod of pantropical spotted dolphins – all 300 to 400 of them – frolicked and porpoised purposefully across the waves. “I was confident they’d be here; they head this way each morning,” said Anthony. “But that’s a smaller pod than we sometimes see; some days we can see seven to eight hundred.”
They were an acrobatic bunch, some breaching high out of the water as they went. “Look at that little guy dancing,” pointed Anthony. A baby dolphin, just a few weeks old, kept leaping vertically out of the sea and exuberantly tail-dancing across the waves. “For some reason they always entertain us,” said Anthony. “It’s a real ‘Look at me!’”