Vanuatu to Cairns Dolphin Show

Today is day five of nine on the passage from Vanuatu to Australia. To celebrate making it to the halfway mark, we had a pod of dolphins come and do a show for us. Eric and Jaime spotted the dolphins at about 14:30 (2:30 pm). We went outside to get a better look. There was a big pod of them surfing the waves around us. Many of them stuck their noses out of the water and dived down, arching their backs out of the water, as they surfed along. A couple of them even turned mid stream so we could see their belly arch out of the water instead of their backs, which was exciting because we haven’t seen them do that before. Out of nowhere, one of the dolphins fully jumped straight up out of the water, fully vertical to the sea, and several feet up. We were all stunned. After that initial breach, the dolphins put on quite the show for us. There were several more fully body breaches like the first one. There were several partial body breaches where they seemed to stick their heads up out of the water to say hi. They would sometimes dive forward off the top of a cresting wave, which would send them flying up about a foot above the descending water level before they plunged back into the ocean. They seemed to be having a lot of fun playing in the waves and showing off for us.


All the other dolphins we have seen seem to like to play at the bow. These would surf the waves up alongside Kosmos, then leap towards the bow as the wave neared it. There would sometimes be five or six of them at a time jostling for position at the bow, and newcomers would sometimes jump over the others to get in. But they didn’t seem to stay at the bow they tended to swim forward in front of the boat, then seemed to drop back behind the boat to repeat the process all over again. Many of the pod were large, some of the largest dolphins we have seen to date. Many had distinctive scars, and one even had a big chunk taken out of his back.


After the initial burst of rapid activity, they slowed down the show, but were definitely still performing. The pod stayed with us for more than half an hour, then just seemed to vanish into nowhere. It is the best dolphin show we have seen yet and we absolutely loved it.

We have not been loving the sea conditions. The first 30 hours were great. From there it went back to “normal” for us, with 20 knot winds at our aft beam (back left corner) and confused seas that made for an overall uncomfortable ride. From there it just kept getting progressively worse, going from uncomfortable to really uncomfortable. The bad news is it is only going to get worse.

Here are a couple more answers to blog questions:

Q. What HAM equipment do you have on board?
A. The radio is an Icom M-802, which is both Single Side Band (SSB) and HAM. The antenna is 23 feet tall, mounted on the pilot house 15 feet above the water, for a total antenna height of 38 feet. We have an AT-140 tuner.

Q: Are you happy with the size generator you have?
A: See post on “The 8kw generator choice“

Q: How are the seasickness remedies working?
A: We both have had good success with a drug called Sturgeron, which is illegal in the US but available at an online Canadian pharmacy near you. It seems to work and we haven’t had any negative side effects.

Q: Any Polynesian remedies for seasickness?
A: We have been told by several people that kava works for seasickness, but we haven’t tried it.

One thought on “Vanuatu to Cairns Dolphin Show”

  1. when they say things are bad….oh I know I don’t ever want to fell that kind of “bad”. Prayers for safe travels and calm seas!!!!

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