It is not every day you get the chance to dive with one of the most impressive acrobats of the sea. During the summer of 2005, a two-meter-long white-beaked dolphin stayed in Gandsfjorden just outside Stavanger on the south west coast of Norway.

The white-beaked dolphins usually stay out in the North Atlantic. This one was stationary around a mooring and became a huge attraction among the local scuba- and free divers.

Pingo taking a closer look

Dolphins are social animals and live together in large groups. Sometimes one can come across lonely dolphins. One theory is that the dolphin has been rejected from the group and seek other groups or even humans to socialize.

The dolphin in Gandsfjorden was named Pingo and stayed for a few months before he was gone. It was a great experience to dive with him. He obviously enjoyed our company and swam quickly from diver to diver. They can swim with a speed of 30 km/h, and freezing the motion with the camera was not an easy task. The dolphins are impressive acrobats. They easily jump clear of the sea surface. Not bad for a mammal which can weight up to 350 kg.

Pingo and free diver

In 2005 we hadn´t made the transition into the digital photo era yet. We shot slide film at that time. It was exiting to turn on the light box and look through the loupe when the 36 pictures of Pingo were returned from the photo lab. Many thanks to Tor Eivind Ravndal for scanning the slides so we could share our trip down memory lane with you.

Per Toustrup from Denmark shot this video of Pingo: