Dolphin-Spotting in the Ionian Sea

One morning not too long ago, my daughter and I rode the bus down to the part of our village that is on the Ionian sea coast, about a seven-minute drive.

Halfway down the winding mountain road, the bus happened upon a man pulled off to the side. He held binoculars up to his face and was looking toward the sea.

The bus driver stopped (I can’t really say he pulled over because the road already barely fits two cars so he literally just stopped in the middle of it) and the man put down his binoculars and turned around. He had an enormous smile on his face.

The bus driver responded with the Italian gesture for “What the heck are you doing?,” which, for those who don’t know, is bringing all five fingers together so that they touch at their tips and then holding the hand at about chin level while bobbing it forward and back.

“Delfini!” the man shouted and turned to point to the sea.


Indeed there were. Three of them, not too far from the shore (entirely visible to the naked eye), jumping up from the gorgeous blue water and diving back into it — backs arched and water splashing, bubbling, and frothing at their tails.

An incredible sight.

We all watched them for a good couple minutes from our bus seats, oohing and aahing and smiling like mad. I kept thinking of how I so wished my daughter would be able to remember that moment, but of course she won’t as she wasn’t even two years old and could barely see the dolphins anyway.

Recounting it here is the next best thing, I suppose, so I don’t forget it either.

Dolphin by Alessandro Caproni  on Flickr

Not a dolphin from that day. I wish I could’ve gotten a photo!

And there is so much to love about this story.

Nature, beauty, yes, but also that it is so representative of the kind of slow-paced life that some of us expats love and other loathe (or love to hate).

The fact that the man with the binoculars had stopped in the first place, making the bus driver curious enough to stop and question him.

Or that not one person on the bus shifted uncomfortably in his or her seat or complained that we were sitting in the middle of the road for no reason other than to admire one of nature’s most beautiful creatures on a morning when surely everyone had somewhere to be.

Or that no other cars passed either way while we were stopped to ruin the moment.

An amazing moment in time–and a great reminder to always stop and admire the dolphins.

5 Beans of Wisdom to “Dolphin-Spotting in the Ionian Sea”
  1. 11.06.2015

    The American Indians believe that if you see a dolphin ask yourself some important questions. What are your words or thoughts creating for you? Breathe some new life into yourself. Play, explore but most of all breathe. What a beautiful sight. Only once on vacation in Florida I spotted two dolphins playing in the distant too far to take a picture with my camera but my mind captured the moment and I will never forget it. By the way have a wonderful Thanksgiving its coming so fast the holidays will be here before you know it. A time for Familia. Paulette

    michelle Reply:

    Oh I love that, Paulette, about the dolphin — thank you for sharing! Wishing you and yours a lovely Thanksgiving as well 🙂 xx

  2. Jill D

    What a lovely adventure, made better because all around you took the time to appreciate it too. We occasionally see dolphins near Long Baech Island when out on the boat, and brown pelicans, and this year a manatee was even spotted this far north. I always tingle inside when I see these rare glimpses of the dophins or pelicans. It is a treat and well worth stopping whatever I am doing to simply watch and wonder at how marvelous they are. My favorite visitor of all is an all too infrequently seen otter. He’s around from time to time and I never fail to be entertained by him. Thank you for reminding us to look around and really see. 🙂

    michelle Reply:

    Oh my…otters and manatees. Awesome! Thanks for reading and sharing, Jill 🙂 xx

  3. The only times I saw delfini was at a zoo. I would love to see them in their natural habitat. This was a nice experience for you.
    I am enjoying reading your blog and I particularly love the Vendemmia post in Calabria. Beautiful. Grazie!



Homemade apple butter
Green beans, potatoes, and pancetta
Glazed Apple Oatmeal Cinnamon Muffins
Pasta with snails alla calabrese
Onion, Oregano, and Thyme Focaccia
Oatmeal Banana Craisin Muffins
Prosciutto wrapped watermelon with bel paese cheese
Fried eggs with red onion and cheese
Calabrian sausage and fava beans
Ricotta Pound Cake