September 3, 2006
The Rudee Flipper is a 1.5- to 2-hour tour in the Atlantic Ocean and Chesapeake Bay in search of dolphins. To my surprise, we actually saw quite a few bottlenose dolphins remarkably close to the boat.
From the outset, I expected that we wouldn't see any dolphins at all. Dolphins in Chesapeake Bay? Nah! And if we did see anything, I figured the dolphins would be way out near the horizon. "See that gray speck?" the guide would say. "That's a dolphin." Fortunately I was wrong.
For the first 45 minutes, our boat traced the Virginia Beach coastline to Chesapeake Bay, with the guide pointing out such varied wildlife as sea gulls, a couple pelicans, and some kite surfers.
Eventually we reached the area where the dolphins were, and it was an impressive show. The curious dolphins swam up to the boat, leapt out of the water, and eventually chased after the boat. A staff member from the Virginia Marine Science Museum explained that it's fun for them, and the speeding boat offered them a "free ride" of sorts as it cut through the water ahead of them.
I'd venture to say that we saw well over a dozen dolphins in groups of up to about 3 or 4. The staff and fellow riders were helpful in pointing out dolphin sightings, and the passenger load was small enough to allow everyone to see and move around safely and easily.
With a 45-minute trip to and from the dolphin hangout and about a 2-hour time limit for the trip, you can see that we didn't have a whole lot of time to spend with the dolphins. But it was exciting and impressive, and we had a great time. The trip back to the dock was far more exciting than the trip out, as our group of lazy tourists turned into a lively bunch of storytellers. And for the record, despite moderately choppy seas, no one had any problems with seasickness.
From journal A Young Couple Goes to Virginia Beach