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Who we are            

Our History

The Dolphin Connection is based in Brighton on the south coast of England. We have been established since 1995, growing steadily over the years to improve our service as well as the number of locations we visit. Our local team in the Azores have a high level of experience and expertise so you are really with some of the best skippers and local guides available.

We maintain a small and personal approach so that everyone feels welcome and well taken care of. It is a privilege for us to facilitate each person's unique adventure with the dolphins and whales.

We take people to beautiful places worldwide that are key locations for dolphins and whales. We have been taking groups to the Azores for over 17 years and have specialist knowledge of the marine life and the islands.  We are involved with marine conservation initiatives through campaigns and awareness raising films

Our guests are welcomed into the company of people who have dedicated their lives to marine conservation and to developing sustainable ways to introduce humans into the world of dolphins and whales. Our team love what they do with a passion. We offer a wealth of experience, expertise and sensitivity in how we introduce people to these playful and highly intelligent creatures in the wild. This provides our guests with the best opportunities to interact with them safely and appropriately. Everyone has their own story to tell of their "unforgettable" experience of being amongst wild dolphins. It is exquisite fun! People use words like "magical", "breathtaking", "blissful", "joyous" with their own unique and personal interpretation of what meeting these extraordinary creatures means to them.

Why choose us?

  • Our team have 20 years experience with expert and friendly skippers and marine biologist offering talks about research projects and life in the Azorean Ocean. Our priority is geting you to the action and the team will do everything they can to ensure you get the best opportunities for sightings.
  • Resident lookouts or vigia to locate the whales and direct boats to the action by radio contact,thus guaranteeing more sightings. You will go out at best times to see the dolphins and whales.
  • Boats are maintained to a high standard by in house boat engineers and are never more than 3/4 years old thus we offer a very reliable service with high safety standards which is important for our guests
  • English, French, Portuguese, German and Dutch spoken

What makes us different?

Personal Touch

These trips are real adventures... opening doorways to new discoveries and possibilities. The groups are small and personal. We have found 16 to be an optimum number (maximum 8 on each boat); just enough people for diversity and everyone has plenty of opportunity to interact with the dolphins. Many of our guests are touched by the quality of care from our team who are there to listen and respond to everyone personally.

Responsible Tourism and Local Relationships

We have spent a great deal of time researching each location and only work with local people and companies who have high standards of professional expertise and environmental awareness, as well as considerable wisdom and sensitivity in how they approach the dolphins. Our relationships with the local people have grown over the years in mutual trust and respect - it is a privilege to introduce our guests to them and cultivate a unique, sustainable eco-tourism.

Setting your own limits

We encourage you to follow your own level of confidence and competence, and we let that dictate how you engage in the underwater encounters. This can be floating on the surface with a mask and snorkel to watch the underwater 'ballet', free diving and swimming amongst the dolphins, or watching from the boat.

Training "in water" encounter skills

Our qualified team offer training in skills to develop confidence and competence in the water for those swimming with dolphins . People are empowered to do things they never thought they would be able to. The right kind of preparation on many levels can make the difference to your experience.

Group Affinity

Something extraordinary seems to happen to people on the trips and there is a lot of 'connection' in sharing the adventure with others of like mind and spirit. Due to the nature of what we are doing together, there is an especially warm, friendly atmosphere in the groups and you feel, both out on the water and back on the land, that you are all sharing in something rare and special.

Safety is a high priority

All trips are accompanied by a trained aquatic rescue supervisor and we provide special equipment where necessary. We instruct our guests in snorkelling techniques with the dolphins and safety procedures out on the water. Our boats meet the highest design standards for safety and suitability in these waters.

The Spirit of Dolphin Connection

Reconnecting with Nature

It is very special to be on the open ocean when these wild animals choose to interact with us. For many there is a profound relationship with nature and life at a very subtle level. We are often more in touch with our instincts and intuition. People frequently describe feelings of love, openness and confidence. They often experience a freedom of spirit and imagination they hadn't known before and return home more inspired and openhearted.

Respect for Nature

Our purpose in introducing people to these magnificent creatures, is to raise awareness of conservation issues and the delicate balance of earth ecology. People often take back into their lives a sense of how they want to contribute to the sustainability of the environment and build more holistic lifestyles as a result of their personal experiences.

Other Dimensions

From our observations out on the water with the dolphins and whales, we see the "dolphin connection" as opening up other realms of sensing, feeling and perceiving. In the same way that listening to music, rhythm and sound can transport us to another plane of experience, so can the presence of the dolphins and their sound vibrations lead to a heightened experience of our feeling nature and other dimensions of reality.

Quotes

"Normally quite passive, I found myself going as wild with delight as everyone else!"
David Hirst, Sunday Times Lifestyle

"This is something I will tell my grandchildren about" Clare, aged 12 after close encounter with a sperm Whale

"I never expected to encounter such an abundance of dolphins. Hundreds surrounded our boat, leaping, clicking, making love all around us. They stayed with us for hours sharing their world with ours. The experience of abundance, freedom and pure joy had an inspirational effect on my life back home. "Alex Fisher - Editorial Consultant - Kindred Spirit Magazine

 

The Team

Top RightAmanda Stafford

is the founder of The Dolphin Connection and has spent many years exploring her fascination with dolphins and the marine environment. She has worked in the field of cetacean research and inter-species communication. She is also involved with environmental conservation and is involved with various marine conservation organisations to preserve life in the ocean.         

Amanda is also a graduate psychologist, bodywork practitioner and works internationally as a business/life coach. Above all she brings to the Dolphin Connection an infectious enthusiasm and passion about dolphins and the ways being in their presence can inspire and empower changes in how we live our heartfelt values. “over many years swimming and interacting with wild dolphins, I have found a relationship with life that is less and less interrupted by self-doubt and negativity. There is more and more fun, love, abundance and freedom." There is also a deeper desire to give something back to the magnificent oceans and preserve them

Fergus Sullivan

Having guided for the Dolphin Connection for over eight years Fergus brings a depth of experience and knowledge of marine life that is a true resource on our trips. His love of dolphins is surpassed only by his affection for the sperm whales, “there is nothing quite like being close to a whale; their gentleness is more overpowering than their size and one can’t help feeling a true sense of awe in their presence”.  Fergus is genuinely considerate and nothing ever seems to be too much trouble when looking after our guests. He has a calm reassuring presence which is very supportive in helping guests develop confidence in the ocean with the dolphins. He first qualified as a lifeguard over twenty years ago.  Fergus is also a child psychologist and counsellor working with youth and young people in various capacities. His love of Buddhism and meditation practice has served to enhance his depth of understanding and compassion. Keeping fit is important to him and he is a training for a triathlon and is in a football team.

HenryEdwards

Henry is one of the second skippers working with the local team in The Azores. He is really great at giving the children extra confidence in the water.

Top RightNick Le Clere

is an Open Water Rescue guide. He has a keen interest in water sports, boats and marine conservation and has personally experienced some life changing and magical moments, whilst swimming with wild dolphins. Nick has a background as a business improvement consultant and NLP. He works in large, blue chip companies. He has also developed new coaching and mentoring technology solutions, designed to support high performance. ‘The contribution I make is to provide the best support I can, to everyone on the trips. It brings me great joy to see, hear and feel the new levels of bliss entering peoples lives.' Our guests are full of positive comments of the level of care, awareness and encouragement that Nick offers and their holiday is certainly enriched by what he gives. He is very adaptable, resourceful and inspiring.

Top Right Malcolm Barradell who as been visiting and working in the Azores over the last 4 years. He has worked with Dolphin Connection as a guide and life guard, and worked a long season as second skipper for our whale watch company in 2004. Malcolm is studying Marine Biology at the University of Glamorgan where he is exploring cetacean research. He contributes expert knowledge and a deep passion for the marine life of the Azores. He will guide the group in a very personal and informative way ensuring the experience is enjoyable, inspiring and deeply memorable.