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Lifestyle + Wellness Travel

Paddleboarding with dolphins in South Africa

There are some moments that happen in our lives that can never be matched. Unexpected. Pure. And completely serendipitous. This was one of mine.

I was sitting at Morgan’s Cafe in Bloubergstrand absentmindedly plunking away at my laptop keys, sipping on a skinny cappuccino, and gazing out at the ocean. Something caught my eye in the distance. Was that.. a whale tail? Surely not. But a few minutes later, I saw it again.

I packed up and hustled back to the Endless Summer Beach House to commandeer a paddleboard and begin the search. Spoiler alert: I never found the whales. This story is about dolphins, remember?

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Aerial view of Table Mountain while flying into Cape Town

As I made my way across the sandy beach to the water, I saw a pod of dolphins surfing the waves breaking by the beach. What?! In my scramble to get into the water and in on this epic dolphin action, I never realized the paddleboard didn’t have a leash. So when I got it absolutely handed to me by a wave on the back line, I spent the next few minutes flailing around trying not to lose the paddle whilst trying to retrieve the board that was being carried to the beach by the waves. Shuddering from the bitter cold of the Atlantic Ocean, I almost gave up. Not on life, silly. The mission at hand.

Cold and defeated, I stood on the beach, pouting at the happy, surfing dolphins. Steeling myself, I waded back into the ocean and fought through the waves. Success! After a quick internal celebration, I realized that I had lost the dolphins. Not a moment later, I saw movement in the water. I almost fell off the paddleboard in shock when three dolphins passed beneath me!

I was out there paddling around for hours. Just me and the dolphins. It was surreal. Every few minutes they would come back to check in on me, zip around me, and remind me that life is absolutely incredible and moments like this are magic.

Blouberg Sunset

Stunning sunset over Blouberg Beach, Cape Town

The moment that struck me the most was the one I didn’t capture. Long after my GoPro battery had perished, I found myself surrounded by a pod of dolphins on the way back to the beach. There must have been at least 50 of them swimming circles around me. I stood in the midst of the dolphin vortex in tears of awe. Yes, I cried a little. Sue me. You would cry too if you’d just made best friends with a pod of dolphins!

When I think back to the moments in life when I’ve felt unbounded joy and intense connection with the world we live in, this one stick out. I suppose if I hadn’t have picked that seat at Morgan’s, taken the time to enjoy the view, and been ready to drop everything and run to the sea, I may have missed out on that moment.

What is the lesson here? Be present. Don’t hesitate. Just jump in…


FILM + EDIT // Crystal Veness
LOCATION // Bloubergstrand, Cape Town, South Africa
MUSIC // Petit Biscuit – Sunset Lover

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