USA '14 – Day 11 – The Thompsons – dolphin hunters

I am not sure why we haven’t done this before but today we took a trip to the coast to get a boat out of St. Pete Beach to find some dolphins. This is relatively a long way away and so requires me to do something before we that I hate – filling the car with “gas”.

I’m not sure exactly what it is that I dislike the most but I suspect that it is the fact that the system here, unlike the UK, is based on a system of mistrust. Before you can fill your car you must pay and for some reason my UK credit card isn’t accepted in the pumps so I have to go in and prepay with cash. All this is fine but the difficulty is that I’m driving around in a car that is new to me and I have no history with but now I am being asked to guess how much fuel to put into it. This involves looking in the manual to find out the capacity of the tank and then working out how much you need to fill up by and the multiplying by the ludicrously cheap price per gallon. It’s a stress I can do without on holiday. However, with that done we were off down the I4 towards Tampa.

The company that we had chosen to go out with said that there was a 99% chance of seeing dolphins, which seemed like pretty good odds to me. It was a beautiful day to be out on the water but after 20 minutes we were wondering if we were going to be in that unlucky 1%. There are a few firms that provide boat trips out and they keep in touch telling each other where the dolphins are. So shortly we were sailing across the bay to our first sighting.

For some reason I had thought that dolphins travelled in large pods so it was a surprise to see such small groups. I think that the largest number we saw together was six. They were beautiful to watch and came very close to the boat. Taking pictures was a bit of a challenge as they spent so little time on the surface and you couldn’t really predict where they were going to come back up. However, as you can see below with a zoom and a bit of patience I got some shots.

In the end we were out on the water for a couple of hours but say dolphins for only half that time. All in all it was well worth making the trip.