Terry's Top 6 Travel Moments

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6 of 6

So five down and a final choice to go. I suppose my reason for picking this as 'number one', is partly that while the others are all landscape effects, this one concerns animals; marine animals, that are the nearest thing, in my view, to human beings. They are very widespread but I found mine off the island of Grenada in the Caribbean; they're dolphins.

I'd seen the occasional dolphin in other parts of the world but often as no more than a briefly glimpsed fin. On a whale-or-dolphin-spotting boat trip, we suddenly saw just such a fin, then another and another, then bodies leaping gracefully and effortlessly clean out of the water and there we were in the very middle of a pod of several dozen bottle-nosed dolphins (they simply wouldn't stay still enough to try an accurate count). We hadn't really gone far towards them, they'd seen us and come over to investigate. We didn't feed them or anything like that, just provided them with our boat as a toy to play with.

And did they play - it was a scintillating water ballet performed by a corps of dancers, every one of whom was a leading soloist. The boat was a powered catamaran which had a netting rigged between the two hulls and you were allowed out on this. With the boat still moving at a fair pace, they skimmed along just in front of the bow-wave; then they played 'chicken', flashing across right under the netting, close enough to touch in the water below me, inches from my camera. They sometimes rolled right over and skittered along upside down showing elegant pearl-grey fronts. The skipper speeded up the boat and they responded to keep up with no apparent effort, swimming in the wake, changing gear to overtake us and still darting across our front.

They paired up for a pas de deux, or occasional trio, jumping clear in complete unison that would have brought rapturous applause at Covent Garden. The pod included a number of youngsters - calves - and these, though able to keep speed, were carefully shepherded clear of the boat by the adults. A quite incredible performance that I shall never forget and feel very privileged to be been allowed to see.

So that's my list. Incredibly hard to stay within the limits and in doing so omitting marvellous sights like the elephant orphanage in Sri Lanka, the equivalent for orang-utans in Borneo, turtles laying eggs on deserted coasts, hot-glowing volcanoes in Costa Rica, lakes, rivers and mountains. It truly is a wonderful world.



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