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Diver dances with dolphins after chance encounter

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Dances with dolphins: Raf Baran, 27, captures a once in a lifetime moment as a pod of dolphins swims with him while freediving (Photograph by Raf Baran)

A freediver who posted videos of a chance encounter with dolphins and whales attracted thousands of viewers from around the world.

Raf Baran, 27, added that he was “awestruck” when a pod of 15 dolphins joined him and his girlfriend as they swam off South Shore.

He said: “They just had this type of curiosity that you wouldn’t expect from a wild animal – that was the most interesting this about this situation.

“I don’t know who had more fun – them or us.”

Mr Baran, an IT consultant, originally from Poland, added that the pod of dolphins “just showed up” and swam close enough to examine them.

Mr Baran, who caught the moment on his GoPro camera, said: “We weren’t swimming towards them – I just dived down and they just swam towards me, which was a crazy experience.

“They were coming to us, looking around, swimming around us.

“It was just these wild animals that were very curious and interested in having an interaction.”

Monika Zajac swims with a pod of dolphins at the weekend (Photograph by Raf Baran)

Mr Baran was speaking after the videos posted on his Instagram account caught the attention of about 4,000 people around the world.

The footage, published on Monday, was also picked up by Bermemes, a social media platform, where it was watched by another 10,000 people.

Mr Baran added he did not get close enough to touch the animals and that it was the first time he had come across dolphins in the wild.

He said: “This is a great opportunity for Bermudians and residents to remember how beautiful the environment over here is and how much we should take care of it.

“This should really serve as an example to the world because it’s really unmatched anywhere else.”

Monika Zajac, Mr Baran's girlfriend, swims with a pod of dolphins at the weekend (Photograph by Raf Baran)

Mr Baran, who moved to the island two years ago with his girlfriend, also from Poland, said the two went to South Shore last Sunday to free-dive and go whale-watching.

He added that he and his girlfriend later found a small group of whales and filmed themselves swimming alongside them, which they posted yesterday.

Mr Baran said: “We saw the whales a little bit further below us and, again, we just swam towards them.

“They were these very large, majestic animals.”

Whale of a time: Raf Baran swims with a pod of whales while freediving (Photograph by Monika Zajac)

Mr Baran said that the online response was “extremely positive” and many people had highlighted how rare the experience was.

He added that friends abroad were surprised that dolphins and whales could be found around Bermuda.

Mr Baran said that friends and strangers told him that they planned to visit the island after they viewed the videos.

But he stressed that wild animals should be left alone and that people who find themselves in a similar situation should be careful.

Mr Baran said: "It’s important to keep a distance between these animals and not force an interaction.“

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Published March 19, 2021 at 12:28 pm (Updated March 19, 2021 at 12:28 pm)

Diver dances with dolphins after chance encounter

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