Not All Superheroes Wear Capes: Some Wear Boardshorts

Ivana Katz
4 min readOct 31, 2022

In 2000 I travelled to Mexico and totally fell in love. He was big and strong, had the happiest smile and always looked so cheerful. There was only one problem — his breath was a bit fishy. But it was my first time, so I was willing to make a few concessions because being with the dolphin made me so happy.

After an hour of frolicking in the water, our dolphin experience was over and we had to leave. I remember feeling so sad, not wanting to leave this big, strong and beautiful creature.

Being in the dolphin’s presence gave me peace and I felt totally at home. That was the beginning of my addiction to dolphins.

Since then, any opportunity I had to swim with dolphins, I took it. I didn’t care how much it cost, I wanted to be around them and feel the excitement I felt all those years ago in Xcaret, Mexico.

I have chased dolphins around the world, choosing many travel destinations based on whether I can see, swim or play with dolphins.

Where Did He Go?

When my son was born, I got him in on the action as well. His first dolphin encounter was in Hawaii, when he got to kiss his first dolphin at Sea Life Park.

He was only 6 years old and a little afraid of this big creature, but he was brave and put his hand out so the dolphin would come to him.

As Jordan grew older we went on many dolphin adventures together. I remember being on a dolphin cruise, when junior suddenly disappeared just as the captain announced there were dolphins ahead.

He knew what was coming … his crazy mother was going to get very excited and act like a goofball. I can’t say I blame him for hiding on the other side of the boat.

OMG OMG OMG Dolphins!

Fast forward a few years and Jordan and I went on a beach 4WD driving trip with some friends.

Just as we pulled up on the shore so the young men in our entourage could go surfing, a pod of dolphins appeared!

I was so excited as I watched them play right in front of us. There was no way I was going to miss this opportunity to swim with dolphins in the wild.

I borrowed one of our friend’s body board and dived into the waves, not thinking anything other than I needed to get closer.

Unfortunately I underestimated the size of the waves and overestimated my ability to navigate the ocean.

Panic Set In

As I desperately tried to paddle out I kept getting smashed by the waves and was quickly running out of energy.

I decided to abort operation dolphin and figured I would catch a wave back to the beach.

The only problem was I got caught in a rip and was being pulled further from the shore.

I started to panic and felt very anxious.

I forgot everything I knew about what you should do if you find yourself in this situation, like remaining calm, floating with the current and swimming parallel to the beach.

No matter how hard I tried to paddle, the beach was getting further away.

I knew I was in trouble.

Even though I had a bodyboard I knew if I got carried out much further I wouldn’t have enough energy to swim the distance back to the shore.

Then Out of the Blue …

Suddenly out of the blue a young man appeared on his surfboard right next to me … he could see I was struggling. He took off his surfboard ankle leash and handed it to me.

He instructed me to hold on tight, jumped back on his board and towed me back to the beach.

Shaken and exhausted, I was relieved to be on solid ground. I was so grateful he was nearby and knew what to do.

Out of breath and weak in the knees, I thanked him for coming to my rescue.

He just grinned and said “all in a day’s work mum”.

He doesn’t have an easy job keeping me out of trouble, especially when dolphins are around.

I was lucky this time and I learnt my lesson, but sadly so many people drown each year because they underestimate the power of the ocean.

If this is your first time at the beach, make sure you swim between the yellow and red flags. If you can’t read the ocean, don’t go in, especially if it is a deserted beach. Check out Surf Life Saving Australia’s website for more information on how to stay safe at the beach.

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Ivana Katz

Ivana Katz is a Sydney website designer & travel blogger. She loves to inspire others to chase their dreams & explore the world: https://www.adventurehq.com.au