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two spinner dolphins hug in the red sea
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September 2015
Allow me to share a little bit more about the strange and magic circumstances around ‘the birth’ of the Dolphin Swim Club. All spring and summer we have been dreaming, talking and working hard to draw up a plan. Countless emails were sent between Sweden, the Netherlands, and the rest of the world. Below, you see a picture of the ‘headquarters’ of the Dolphin Swim Club. It is a boathouse on the Baltic coast of the Swedish island Öland.

Bottlenose dolphins in the Baltic

For the whole of that summer there had been sightings of bottlenose dolphins in the Baltic. This is very, very, very unusual… Only porpoises are native to the Baltic. And even these cetaceans are hardly ever seen! The Ocean played a role. Because of unusual winds and tides that past winter, an enormous amount of saltwater could come in. At first, there was a lone dolphin, playing and interacting with people in boats, canoes, and little harbours. Bringing excitement and delight everywhere. Slowly making her way North, up to the Islands around Stockholm.


There, this wild dolphin swam for days in front of the Swedish aquarium Kolmården, where the captive dolphins live. She was even in front of the house of their research leader Mats Amundi. The media gave the dolphin the name; ‘Vilse’ (Lost), which is rather unfortunately chosen, because I have the strong feeling that there was nothing lost nor erratic about it this very courageous and heroic journey. A few weeks later the ocean played a role again, it receded, and water levels were unusually low. A bit of ocean bottom at the coast became visible, and, now the really sad part;…. the body of this very courageous dolphin revealed herself, close to the Dolphin Swim Club. This is how we found out that she was a female.

Just that weekend, Ian Graham, a well-known author and organizer of dolphin retreats, visited us. Since we all consider dolphins as our relatives, we went to the place she was found and put some tears and flowers on that spot. Honouring her courage, and trying to understand her journey, and what she maybe wanted to share with us all, humans.

Dolphins seem to master the art of living in peace, harmony, and joy. I am sure that they weep too, for every child, woman, and man that has been sinking into their world in the Mediterranean Sea lately, as large numbers of people fleeing their war-stricken homes crossing these waters in small unsafe boats.

Another dolphin sighting

Two days later we went back early in the morning, and just behind the flowers, the ocean had floated in a pair of diving goggles…We took that as a clear calling from the cetacean consciousness, an encouragement to go on with the Dolphin Swim Club. All the more in honour of the lonely dolphin, who undertook such a brave journey into the unknown. At the time of the launching of the Dolphin Swim Club, another dolphin sighting came in the news: a pair of bottlenose dolphins have been filmed just North of Stockholm, jumping and frolicking about for over 3 hours!

A wondrous event

As I was writing this story, these two showed up in front of the ‘headquarters’ of the Dolphin Swim Club!!!!! Again, bottlenose dolphins are not native to the Baltic Sea. This is, by all means, a wonderful event….

The dolphins are inviting you to become part of their world.

Portrait Marijke Sjollema

May you all safely navigate your oceans,
Marijke Sjollema

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