At first, the ocean seems empty. Through my snorkelling mask I see only a deep blue nothingness. Then suddenly they are there; dark, lithe shapes gliding in perfect formation like aerobatic pilots.
The spinner dolphins seem oblivious to my presence, cavorting around me for the fun of it. They come here every morning, dozens of them, to a sheltered lagoon framed by jagged mountains off the coast of Mauritius, to rest and play in tranquil water.
Swimming among them is an encounter with nature in one of her most enchanting guises. They are like smiling torpedoes, cruising with effortless power and grace in an endless realm.
I just wish they didn’t swim so fast. Even with fins on I keep pace for barely half a minute before their tails flip farewell, and they are gone.
We are lucky. We came early when there were only a couple of other boats of dolphin chasers. By the time we leave, the bay is crowded with dozens of boats and people thrashing about in pursuit of flashing flanks. The best plan is to come early, like the dolphins.