I am not a fan of zoos. They strip out the sense of respect that we have towards the fellow creatures that inhabit this Earth, and reinforce our undeserved sense of dominance over them.

To me, the best way to watch wildlife is always to watch them in their natural habitat. That experience trumps any zoo any day. Which is part of the reason why I went on a boat ride to see dolphins and whales last weekend. The other part was because they had a huge discount.

It’s amazing to see these intelligent and majestic creatures up close, where they live and play. These are wild animals – the skipper don’t know beforehand where they are and when they’ll be there. We had to literally look for signs that indicate a lot of activities underwater, like countless seagulls hovering above the water and taking straight dives in. And when we found them, it’s just amazing.

The dolphins were a friendly bunch. The pod that we found consists of maybe about 30 members, all swimming alongside and under the boat, matching our speed, as if greeting us and happy to see us.

The whales are much more rare and shy, for good reasons I suppose. We only managed to find a couple of them – a mother and her calf, which helps explain why they’re not as friendly as the dolphins. At one point, we got so close to the pair that we can smell their breaths – and let me tell you, it stinks. But the experience is awesome nonetheless. Being able to see these majestic creatures in their natural habitat is really a chance you should not pass.

Photos follow. Click to embiggenate.