Dreaming with the Dolphins

A pair of dolphins rides Dream Time's bow wake through glassy, calm water off Australia.

A pair of dolphins rides Dream Time's bow wake through glassy, calm water off Australia.Neville Hockley

We were cruising north along the coast of Australia, and rarely had we experienced seas this peaceful — the surface all silky, heavy and smooth, disturbed only by delicate patterns of tiny ripples, the very beginning of waves born from a gentle gust. And never before had we sailed with dolphins surfing within a perfect reflection of Dream Time, two very different worlds separated only by a bubbling white wake — our reality above; a peaceful enchanted world below. One where two dolphins, companions, danced closely together, twisting and weaving within the shadows and reflections of our bow, each taking turns to impress us with their grace and ability before rolling to the side.

Since we left New York in 2007 to cruise around the world, my wife, Catherine, and I have sailed Dream Time more than 32,600 nautical miles. Our loyal 1981 Cabo Rico has carried us safely across vast oceans to remote, uninhabited tropical islands, to distant cultures, and deep into regions and experiences we never knew existed. For 10 magical years, we have explored our world together, very slowly, one day at a time, and the natural wonders we have discovered on this voyage are among our most valued treasures. It's a life rich in experience, challenge and reward, where the moment is warmly embraced and savored — a state of being that we rarely achieved in New York — and we find ourselves deep in gratitude.

The soft echoes of whistling announced the arrival of other dolphins, including a mother with her calf, surfacing in the sunlight, then diving down in water so clear and still that they seemed to float in space. Then, with a burst of dazzling sparkles and a rush of breath, the dolphins surfaced to join our reality. For almost an hour we watched the dolphins from our bow, recording the moment to memory, washed with a profound joy.

And at times, when our reflection blended so delicately and naturally with the dolphins’ presence, it was impossible to tell where their world ended and ours began.

— Neville Hockley