These trips run twice daily from the harbour at Puerto Rico and cost 25 euros (you get a free trip if you fail to spot dolphins/whales) and take 2 and a half hours. (There are several companies offering these trips – the times and prices vary). As I went across the wooden walkway to the boat a chap with a large camera took me by surprise and took my photo.
The boat looked nice (“open-plan” design) and when I went (early December) there weren’t too many others on board. The captain did a brief chat before we set sail, during which he told smokers to sit at the back and that the sick bags were at the front! He also said that drinks were available to purchase. No mention of life jackets or any other H&S stuff.
I’d taken the precaution of having sea-sickness pills and was wearing acupressure (anti-sickness) wrist bands, but others weren’t so forward thinking. It was quite a cloudy day and the sea was quite rough. I decided to make the most of my experience and take up the captain’s offer to sit ‘upstairs’. A couple of others tried it but soon chickened out when they got cold and the boat rocked. The captain offered me a blanket but I was wearing a fleece so was ok. I must admit, the adrenalin was going a bit as the boat felt like a bucking bronco at times, but the views were amazing.
After about an hour the seas calmed and the captain asked if I’d like to sit right at the very front of the boat for the best view (not sure of the technical term for where it was, but it was a couple of feet away from the grab rail with nothing else in front other than the sea). Again, I decided to get my money’s worth and went for it.
After we’d been out for an hour and a half I was beginning to worry I may end up getting a free return ticket, but after almost 2 hours suddenly there were other people around me and the captain was excitedly pointing towards the underneath of the boat.
There they were… a pod of dolphins, swimming alongside the boat. We spent about five minutes watching them, but it only felt like a few moments, and then we continued on the journey back to the harbour.
I was chatting excitedly to another lady who’d been thrilled to watch the dolphins when the captain presented us with photos in cardboard sleeves (so THAT’S why I had my picture taken…!) He then asked us for 10 euros each, which I thought was a bit steep but I almost felt obliged to pay up. I wasn’t thrilled with my picture but decided it was a ‘nice’ memento of my trip, so I reluctantly paid up (as did the lady I was talking to).
The captain then showed us a photo and some information about the dolphins we’d seen…bottle-nose dolphins as it turned out.
All in all it was a fabulous experience and well worth the cold/bumpy bits, although I’d have felt safer if I’d been told where the life jackets were and I’d have been happier if I’d not been ambushed with a photograph.