Dolphins converge from all directions, dorsal fins slicing the water.
A pod of five frolic around wetsuit-clad swimmers, rolling on their backs in a playful display of their bellies, twisting and dancing, coming within centimetres of one man.
“Whoo-hoo,” shouts the man, “awesome”.
Welcome to a day in the life of Judy Muir, who has run Polperro Dolphin Swims from Sorrento for 24 years, the first to operate in Port Phillip Bay.
In those years, she has seen the spectrum of human emotions.
“It’s not uncommon for people to cry when they swim with the dolphins,” Judy says.
“They find it so profound they come out of the water with tears streaming down their face.
“Just yesterday a man told me it was a life-changing experience for him.
“I’ve even had people from spiritual groups. One group believed dolphins were incarnated from the planet Sirius.
“Others have smiles from the sheer joy of being eye to eye with an animal in their environment and on their terms.”
Then there are the people who come with ailments and illnesses, hoping their interactions with the marine mammals will provide some kind of curative: children with autism, sufferers of cancer, the disabled.
But, according to Judy, dolphins do not and cannot heal.
While dolphin-assisted therapy – the concept that the creatures have healing powers – gained traction in the US with a series of studies, Judy says it’s a myth.
“That link is an obscure connection that has now, for some, become a mantra. We want to dispel this myth – we are averse to promoting the species as a cure for people,” she says.
What she can guarantee is a sense of achievement.
Full article: Weekly Times Now