As I jump out of bed at 5am on yet another Saturday morning, I think about what the day will bring. I’m excited as usual, to head to work. Not to my paid Monday to Friday job, but for the job I truly love, watching dolphins as I attempt to learn yet more about their world and what’s effecting them. I put my uniform on and then I’m boarding Temptation Sailing‘s 55ft Catamaran, from Glenelg, in South Australia. The crew on board pull the boat into the marina with such ease. I’m very comfortable with this friendly bunch of blokes. They offer dolphin watch and swims (and much more, but we’re here for the watch) where you are guaranteed to meet the local dolphin population.
I am aboard as your local dolphinologist as they call me. I’m a mad keen dolphin person with a love of dolphins and photography who’s fallen into the best volunteer job in the world. I come aboard to take identification photos of the dolphins, and to talk with anyone who wishes to listen. I do my best to take photos of the dorsal fin which identifies a dolphin, but wild dolphins rarely cooperate, and so I have owned many cameras in my quest, to find the best one for the job. My Canon 5D III with 100-400mm does what I require, and what you see is the result of many years of practice. The camera is designed to perform well in low light situations, which when you’re on a boat, most would say “what low light?” but there are days when the weather isn’t as great as you’d like, and they can be some of the best dolphin days, so you need to have that ability, which I more than enjoy with this Canon.
The dolphins as usual hear the boat, and the young ones in particular are very curious, and so I head to the bow of the boat. I kid myself it’s so they can hear my squealing to them, as happens on most weekends, but I do believe it’s more about their enjoyment. It’s a great opportunity for me to examine them up close though, to see what’s affecting them, for example, if they’re sporting a skin infection, new rakings and or anything else that’s unusual. And it gives me my opportunity to talk with them. I think they’re about perfect, their work / life balance is amazing, they eat enough, then they rest when required, or play if it takes their fancy. I think dolphins are about as good as it gets in this world, and I enjoy every minute I have with them.
An animal lover all her life, Barbara Saberton focused her attention on dolphins when she heard that there was a local population in the Port River Estuary area of Adelaide, South Australia. When one fell ill, Barbara knew that she had to do something more, so she began studying them, learning all she could. With a patient teacher to guide her, she's never looked back. There have been trying times, but more importantly continual lessons that keep her working harder every day as she volunteers for the dolphins!