Dolphins. Sataya, Egypt. December 2011.

Dance with dolphins


  Egypt: Hamata - Red Sea - November 2011

Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic translation of an article originally written in French. I apologise for any strange sentences and funny mistakes that may have resulted. If you read French, click on the French flag below to access the original, correct text: 

Prepare your snorkel, but forget The big Blue and Flipper the dolphin... There is better !!! I take you to admire Egyptian dolphins, in 1 minute 30 of video.

Video: the dolphins of Sataya

→ Direct link to the video: The dolphins of Sataya

The site where I filmed this little video sequence in November 2011 is called Sataya. It is in the Red Sea, in Egyptian waters. You can even see the reef on Google Map satellite images (see below).

There, long-beaked dolphins live permanently, which can be observed underwater with snorkel fins or snorkeling in English. Bottle diving is not allowed near the reef, to avoid disturbing them. The reef is supposed to be a resting place for them.

During our little trip there, we were lucky. Two impressive schools of dolphins were there. We were only allowed to go in the water for a short session of about 20 minutes. During this short interval, the dolphins seemed to be playing, joking, not hesitating to come and brush against the swimmers, not at all frightened.


Swimming with dolphins was a new experience for me. In Bali, I had given up on seeing the dolphins of LovinaI did not want to contribute to the tourist business organized on the spot which seemed to me not very respectful of the animal.

Disclaimer: this stay in the Red Sea dates from November 2011. Since then, the number of boats and tourists arriving daily in Sataya Bay has increased greatly, which is obviously not a good thing for the tranquility of the resident dolphin schools... Not all operators and visitors behave in a respectful manner, not hesitating to cut them off, not reducing the engines, etc. I went back in 2017 and didn't like what I saw very much (at the time, I preferred not to post anything on the subject): boats everywhere and dolphins running away from humans splashing around, instead of coming to meet them to play and swim as I had seen in 2011... Without being a specialist of marine mammals or of the site, I realize that the pressure has become too strong and that it is probably better, from now on, to give up going to see the dolphins of Sataya. They will be happier without us!

Sataya could become a protected area in 2019. To encourage good practices on the site and avoid that the area turns into a vulgar "tourist park", a petition, launched by Frédéric Chotard Sea DolfinThe project is currently underway with the help of a specialist in the observation and approach of these marine mammals by snorkeling. He hopes that the Egyptian authorities will take into account his recommendations. Contact him to have the details of his project, which seems to me really well thought. The petition is here → Help us protect Sataya's lagoon

Ethical approach to whales and dolphins. To learn more about the behavior of these marine mammals and the possible interactions with them, in respectful conditions and for scientific purposes, I refer you to the sites of Eric Demay, a great specialist of these cetaceans: and Tursiops Group.

At the time, I did not feel that the few small groups of snorkelers present disturbed many dolphins. No need to palm to approach them. They are the ones who come to see you, or not ...

We only stayed a few minutes swimming with them. Fantastic minutes!

Dolphins. Sataya, Egypt. December 2011.

I'm not really a client of the pseudo-ecological mythology, a little new-age and often silly that surrounds dolphins. But here it is. Seeing them evolve freely underwater, very close to me, impressed me much more than I thought it would. It is really an extraordinary encounter.

However, I had already seen dolphins, but always from a boat. It is not uncommon, when sailing in Indonesia, Malaysia, or Thailand, to come across schools of dolphins that come to play for several minutes in front of the bow.

But there, under water, it was something else. I was so fascinated, that for once I neglected the videos and the pictures, to better contemplate them...

Dolphins. Sataya, Egypt. December 2011.

Their incessant twirls seemed like a dance. And then there were these little facetious whistles, almost mocking, when they came almost in contact to immediately go to the bottom. Impossible not to be touched, stirred.

I swear, it's something to swim near the dolphins... It was both beautiful and moving. An aesthetic emotion, almost.

How about you? Have you ever had a similar experience? Have you ever felt that emotion?

  Egypt: Hamata - Red Sea - November 2011

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    1. Hello, I would like to know where did you swim with dolphins in Brittany?

      thank you

  1. Agree with all previous comments, beautiful images, but the music is not bad either, sound and images are in harmony. 🙄

  2. Really beautiful video! I've never seen dolphins in Egypt (nor swam with them)... (I swam with a dugong and turtles though 😛 ) It must be magical to swim with dolphins, especially since they're playful! 😀

  3. I was there at the end of August this year, I loved the week and swimming with the dolphins is an unforgettable experience, they approach and look at you, swim away and come back to examine you...

  4. @ Marie-Julie: Wow, I saw!!!
    Thank you for this enthusiastic sharing, all over your networks... 🙄

    @CaroL: It's a fairly easy excursion to organize, as part of a trip to Egypt, I think.

    @Fabrice: If you keep diving like you do, you'll eventually get the chance to experience this kind of underwater encounter... 😉

    @Valentin: The water must not have been the same temperature either... But this kind of encounter, in Egypt, Brittany, or anywhere else, remains magical! 😮

    @Flo: Yes, I'm lucky to have been able to attend such a show. And I continue to marvel at it, like a child...

    @Ysbilia: Thanks a lot! For the music, I immediately thought of the "Pina" soundtrack, because I knew it would fit in with my little video montage.

    @Pauline: I've often come across turtles underwater, and again in Egypt we came across some. But never a dugong! I dream about it!

    @Brigitte: "Unforgettable is the word... Like you, I loved it!

    @ Bloc18: Thank you for the link !!!

  5. Thanks for sharing your video! it's superb, I really like the music too, it was indeed a bit of a magical moment...!!!! You know what? My box is working like a charm now!...

  6. And here we go again with the inevitable nonsense and endless positivo-ecolo-tremolo-rasleciboulo outpourings on dolphins and their supposedly positive attitudes towards humans 😯
    Dolphins are wild animals like any other, vile and devious creatures whose only concerns are to eat, reproduce and protect their territory/harem 👿
    Flipper and the Blue Acorn have hit 😕 again.
    I've already come into contact with these creatures at Sataya, back when you could still dive with a boulder. I was gently following a pretty, shapely dolphin who had been making eyes at me for a few moments after having mated more than 10 times with different partners, when an imposing male with the shoulders of a shipwreck raider stood in front of me with a black look and hit me on the arm with his rostrum, causing a haematoma that earned me the attentive care of an Egyptian sailor with ambiguous morals that the Muslim brothers will no longer tolerate.
    So, in fact, the dolphin is like the clown fish: it's a ferocious beast to be avoided as much as possible 😆 😆 😆
    Believe me, a diver's best friend is a shark 🙄

  7. @ Bloc18: You already have the previous articles to give you a change of scenery... More to come, of course!

    @Coralie: I'm so glad you're back! Thanks for your comment, it's really nice. I'm glad your box is less recalcitrant now. I'll be on the lookout for your next images!!!

    @LeTrollVelu: Ah, all the same! Finally, the comment I've been waiting for!!! I knew that a troll worthy of the name couldn't let such an article pass without coming to put his indispensable grain of salt in it... 😆
    Basically, I agree: dolphins are no better than humans. abominable clownfish and the cumbersome manta rays. No, really, those stanata bugs don't deserve this much consideration. I promise, next time I'll grab my flippers and run as far away as I can... 😀

  8. @Fabrice: It all depends on where you are. From Marsa Alam, it's a long way, and best done on a cruise, I imagine. But for us, it was a day trip from Hamata. I don't know how much it costs, but as it's just snorkeling, it's bound to be cheaper than a full-day snorkeling trip. Finally, there must be other sites in Egypt where you can easily observe dolphins in this way.

  9. One word: superbewaouhmagiquesortidunrêve! 🙂

    One wish: posters and mugs from these photos (magnets too). You should start creating the pbda line. Dolphins are best friends for that. 💡 I can give you some advice as I myself have just started with some success that surprised my partner. In any case, I reserve the first dolphin poster that you will edit.

    A vision: many more dolphins, turtles, manta rays, sharks, nudibranchs to come so that life continues to be more beautiful. 🙄

    One more thing: 😉

  10. It's a great privilege to take part in such an enriching experience, and what can I say about the video... it's a job for professionals. Your article makes me want to come back to your blog more often.

  11. I had the opportunity to get close to these impressive creatures with my friends in Mauritius when I went to visit them backpacking / diving... In the same state of mind and with strict rules of approach, towards Tamarin Flic en Flac. I had hesitated, though, not liking the touristy stuff. The experience was quite memorable... I almost forgot to breathe.

  12. @Richard: Many thanks!!! Delighted to have inspired you to come back and stroll through my Petites Bulles d'Ailleurs... See you soon!!!

    @ Cedric: Yes, sometimes there are "touristy things" that are still worthwhile...

  13. So I go several days without coming and I find this video outrageously "fuzzy inside"... Well, I'm going back to crying under my comforter.
    Happy New Year anyway, huh! May your desires take you far!

    ; D

  14. Hi corinne, I do not get tired watching this video!
    I'm taking this opportunity to ask you for some advice, because I've decided to go to Thailand at the beginning of April to Koh Lanta!!!! 8)
    So by the way, how do you get from Krabi to Koh lanta and vice versa because on the way back I have a plane at 10am in the morning and I don't know if I'll be able to get a shuttle that early in the morning 😕
    Perhaps it would be more prudent to leave the day before for Krabi? In that case, would you have an address for a short day trip to Krabi, not too far from the airport (I'm having trouble visualizing all this as it will be my 1st stay in Thailand....)? thank you in advance.

  15. @Melissa: Nooooo, don't go back under your duvet, don't cry !!!! 😀 I wish you a happy new year 2012...

    @Laurence: You can reach Koh Lanta either by road (it's actually a peninsula) or by boat. If you have to take off from Krabi City airport, I think it's better to sleep as close as possible to the airport the night before, so you'll have more peace of mind (but hoteliers are used to airport transfers, so ask your hotel how long the transfer will take, to see if it's feasible, and if they can organize it, telling them your plane's departure time).
    But if you prefer to spend the night in Krabi, you can choose to stay in one of the many hotels on Ao Nang beach (type "Ao Nang Beach" into Google), or nearby on Railey East or West beaches (but you'll need a small boat transfer, which can be organized by the hotel, as there is no road), which I wrote about here :
    Little lucky man, go ... 8)

  16. thank you ❗ I'm going to follow your advice and spend a night in Krabi, I can't wait to get there..... 😀 I'm going to reread all your posts on thailand to spot diving spots 😉

  17. @Laurence: You won't find many posts about my dives in Thailand in the Phuket / Koh Phi Phi / Krabi area, as I did a lot more diving there before opening this blog (in 2006).

    The Similan (in cruise) are obviously a must:

    The sites around Koh Phi Phi are very good, and I'm always surprised when I go back to see that despite the tourist crowds, the seabed is still full of life. There's the ferry wreck, which is fun to do.

    From Koh Lanta, there are the Koh Haa very nice, including the caves, and the inevitable Hin Dong and Hin Muang (also offered from Koh Phi Phi, but it is much further):

  18. 🙂 thank you for all these links !
    I don't think we'll be able to go to the Similans (too far from Lanta?), but koh Haa and two "hin" are on the program at the diving club, as well as koh PHIPHI, and I wouldn't mind meeting a manta or a leopard shark 😉

  19. Hello corinne

    I was lucky enough to snorkel at Samadai before the invasion and at Sattaya in 2009, what moments of pure bliss. I still get chills. For those who want to see, photos from a friend's blog:

    Do you go to the diving show if you can pass on our stand: turtle prod A9. If you want to see what I'm doing is going to the blog of

    Thank you again for all these beautiful trips that you share with us.
    Highly april for a return aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa Bali-Lombok

    A + lolo

  20. @Lolo: Thanks for your note and the links! I don't know yet if I'm going to the Diving Show. I'll decide at the last minute, I guess. So, you've got a hankering for Indonesia? Well, well...

    @Laurence: Departures for the Similan are in fact the port of Tap Lamu, near Khao Lak, on the west coast, a little further north, or from Phuket (transfer by minibus several hours). The boats do not leave Koh Lanta, to my knowledge. We can not do a day trip to the Similan since Khao Lak.

    In the Phi Phi / Lanta / Krabi area, you should, I think, easily come across leopard-sharks. In my memories of diving there, they were quite numerous.
    -> see this video of 2007:
    -> this other from 2006:
    —> voir d’autres vidéos faites pour la plupart en Thaïlande (mes premiers pas de vidéo sub avec mon compact, que de progrès depuis) :

  21. Aie aie aie trop génial de nager en pleine mer avec les dauphins fantastique ta petite vidéo, j'adorerais.

  22. @Ysbilia: How observant!!! Yes, I'm in the middle of a blog makeover. It's a work in progress and not quite finished, there are still lots of little details to tweak... But it's starting to look like what I'd like. Thanks for giving me such a high rating!!!

  23. I really like the new look of the blog, it deserves even more than before AAA+!

    Even more elegant layout and typography! Thank you

  24. Hello Corinne,

    It's been a while since I checked your blog (thousand apologies).
    Your photos and videos show that nature can always bluff us,
    When you see how exciting it is to see a dolphin when you're on a boat, I imagine the magical moment of this encounter in the water.
    This type of encounter can also happen when you cross (in another register) mantas.
    In any case, like everyone else I am jealous.

    See you soon


  25. I had missed this video, I'm only discovering it now....and what a pleasure!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Magnificent video, a dream!!!!Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!

  26. Thank you thank you Corinne!

    Your video is magnificent and I am truly jealous... I must have watched it 4 or 5 times to keep up. 🙂

    I have a real passion for dolphins, and I managed to meet some in Panama, in Bocas del Toro, but only by boat.


  27. Very beautiful video that makes you dream. I lived in Egypt but never had the chance to see them. I saw them in Mozambique and Costa Rica, but by the time I dived into the water, they had disappeared. Maybe one day... 😉

  28. @ Eric: You did well to come back for a little tour... 😉 Yes, this kind of show, it's magical!!!! For the mantas, I still have a video brought back from Komodo to edit... In the meantime, there's a little raw footage there :

    @ Helen: I'm so glad you didn't miss it after all. I like this video too 🙂 .

    @Vincent: Viewed 4 or 5 times!!!?? Now that's passion !!! 🙄

    @Julian: It's not always easy to be in the right place at the right time... But at the site where we were, the dolphins are virtually "guaranteed" to reside in this bay.

    1. "Vaguely"... 😆 No, you got it right. It's definitely the music from the film "Pina". Which seemed just right for this aquatic ballet...

  29. Wow, beautiful!
    I've never swum with dolphins, but I'm very moved by this on my computer screen... Thank you!
    (and very good choice of music)

  30. Great video! Wonderful! I also swam with dolphins in Zanzibar! It was just magical!

  31. Wouaah the dream!! magnifique! i'd love to experience something like that one day!
    I'm about to take a trip to Indonesia and I'd like to buy a small waterproof camera that's pretty good quality! would you have anything to recommend?
    thanks a lot
    and bon voyage 🙂

    1. @OBSCUR: magnificent, indeed... I still can't believe I was lucky enough to witness such a show.

      If you want to film underwater, you could buy a compact video camera with an underwater housing, or the very popular GoPro camera with the waterproof housing that goes with it...

      Have a nice trip to Indonesia!

  32. Wow what a dream. I lived in Cairo, Egypt, for a year, so I often went to Sinai or Hurghada to dive, but I'd never been this far south; what a shame, because it looks sublime. And now, maybe it's too late to go so as not to disturb these beautiful creatures any further...