Magical Encounters : Dolphins and You
Have you ever dreamed of swimming with dolphins in the wild? Of having authentic, natural encounters with these majestic creatures on their terms? Of looking into their eyes as they approach and swim alongside you, knowing that they are also watching, and really seeing you?
Swimming with wild dolphins is something that many of us have dreamed of, not only as children but throughout our adult lives. Their absolutely spontaneous joy, their inquisitive curiosity, their intelligence and the emotional connection we feel with them, captures our imagination. And there is truly nothing more magical than being surrounded by a large family pod of dolphins as they welcoming you to join them in spontaneous play.
If this has been your dream, if you long to reconnect with your playful inner child, to let go of your inhibitions, to spend a week learning to deeply relax and connect with your deeper source of energy, and to immerse yourself in one of the most beautiful experiences know to humankind, then don’t hesitate. We have only twelve places available on this magical week of relaxation, fun and magic in the Red Sea… so dive right in!
Please note : This year’s event is fully booked - to be added to our waiting list for next year, please email us via this link.
WELCOME TO THE SEA SOUL & SATAYA REEF
We invite you to join our Magical Encounters week aboard the beautiful Sea Soul yacht, at Sataya Reef, a shallow protected natural offshore bay, where a large pod of a few hundred dolphins spend most of the their days resting, playing and mating, before heading out to sea again at night to hunt. This will be our home for the week, where we can swim in the warm, shallow and clear waters (up to 30 degrees water temperature, maximum 10 metres depth in the bay), explore the reef, and where we too will rest, play, and much more.
WHO IS THIS WEEK FOR?
This week is for anyone whose heart beats faster when they think of swimming with wild, free dolphins. It is for all of you who have a passion for wildlife, and want to experience this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to swim with a completely wild pod, on their terms.
FREEDIVERS : For beginner freedivers this is the perfect place to start learning - in warm, clear, shallow water, we will be offering Holistic Freedive coaching during the week, to explain our spiritual and biological connection with our marine cousins, to allow you to experience the water and your dolphin interactions in a more confident, relaxed and playful way.
For certified freedivers, this is a wonderful opportunity to learn a new, more natural and integrated approach to the sport, without pushing or focusing on numbers, but connecting with your deeper innate potential which is just waiting to unfold. And of course you are free to swim with the dolphins and use your freediving skills to play in the ocean from sunrise to sunset each day if you want.
SWIMMERS AND NON-SWIMMERS : While it helps to be a confident swimmer, it is not essential. You can use a life vest, and the crew are exceptionally kind and supportive to ensure everyone has a positive experience during the week. In fact, if you are nervous in and around water, but feel drawn to this encounter, we can help you to feel more relaxed by teaching you basic breathing and breathhold techniques, showing you how to swim and float safely, and demonstrating how we, as human beings, belong in the ocean, and being here with the dolphins is actually a process of coming home.
YOGIS AND YOGINIS : We will also be offering gentle yoga and meditation sessions each day at sunset for anyone who is interested in exploring the inner landscapes of their body, heart and mind in all-level practices led by Sara and Jean Philippe.
Teaching will be in English and French, with translation for anyone who needs it!
We are excited to welcome you on board the beautiful luxury 33 metre yacht, our home for the week, the Sea Soul. Owned by our inspiring and luminous friend, Annette, and managed perfectly by her amazing crew, the Sea Soul can sleep up to 22. However, in order for all of our guests to feel really at ease, and have plenty of personal space, we are inviting a maximum of 12 people to join us for this magical week.
Each of you will have your own private cabin and bathroom, all of which are temperature regulated by the central air conditioning system. The shared spaces are equally generous; the saloon is a spacious and comfortable dining area where meals are served, but which also serves as quiet space to read, relax, or help yourself to tea, coffee or fresh drinks from the minibar at any time.
The middle deck has two communal spaces; the foredeck has sofas and a large area for sunbathing; and the aft deck is the main open-air shaded space where we will relax, read, share stories, laugh and learn together. It’s a perfect space for snoozing on either the generous sofas or plentiful beanbags scattered around and there is a second minbar for self-service refreshments.
Finally the upper deck, which covers more or less the entire surface area of the boat, is a lovely place for sunbathing in the day, and it is where we will meet every sunset for our yoga and meditation practice.
And for those of you who dream of falling asleep beneath the stars listening to the gentle sound of the water lapping against the hull of the boat, you are welcome to sleep outside in any of the areas.
Our daily rhythm will, to a certain extent, be dictated by the activity and moods of the dolphins. As these are totally wild creatures, they follow their inner clocks and the rhythm of the tides and seasons as well as the day and the night. Their normal pattern is to spend the nights hunting at depth out in the blue, and, as the sun begins to rise, they return to Sataya Reef to relax, rest, sleep, play and mate. However, we are unable to guarantee their appearance at any time throughout the week and invite you to see their presence, whenever they do come, and a very special blessing - they have chosen to return to visit us.
We recommend waking with the sunrise while onboard - not only is it a very beautiful and moving opportunity to watch the golden light rising over the Red Sea, it is the time when the energy of the day is gathering and you can connect with this powerful yet peaceful inner energy within yourself. If the dolphins appear, it is also the first opportunity of the day to go and meet them - they often like to burn off steam after a night’s hunting and can be playful and energetic during these early hours.
Breakfast is served around 8am, after which we will meet for a Holistic Freediving lecture explaining our spiritual and biological connection with the ocean and these magnificent creatures. Even for those of you not interested in freediving this is an opportunity to learn about your connection with Nature and see yourself in a new, fascinating, and possibly surprising perspective.
The rest of the morning will be split - for those who wish to have Holistic Freediving coaching, we will spend an hour or so learning basic breathhold and relaxation techniques in the safe and controlled environment of our coaching buoys; those not wishing to join us are free to relax, or, if the opportunity arises, to swim once more with the dolphins.
Lunch is around 1pm, and the afternoon is again free and flexible time - relax, read a book, chat, swim, jump from the boat, and if they’re in the mood, swim with the dolphins.
At sunset we will gather on the upper deck for yoga and meditation, and then head down to dinner before settling in for the night, being rocked gentle to sleep by the movement of the Sea Soul on the waves.
ABOUT THE DOLPHINS
As marine mammals, dolphins need to return to the surface every few minutes or so to breathe. This means that even while sleeping, they remain semi-active; dolphins have evolved to allow one half of their brain to sleep, while the other remains alert to ensure they keep breathing, before they then switch to the other half of the brain.
This means that their sleep looks very different from ours, but it is fairly easy to recognise when a pod is sleeping - their movements will be calm, slow and relaxed and they can be seen cruising around the bay - at these times we want to leave them alone. On the contrary, when the dolphins wake up and feel playful, you will know that they’re ready! Their movements become much more exaggerated, with them swimming fast, bumping each other, chasing, playing and even jumping. These are the moments when it is most fun to get in the water with them, and wonder at their grace, athleticism and playfulness.
We wish to invite all of you to join these sessions where we explain the fundamental principles of our relationship with ourselves, through the mirror of the ocean. As human beings we have an intimate and innate knowledge of the water - we evolved from aquatic creatures millions of years ago and as such, still retain a latent memory of living in the ocean.
Through her freediving career, Sara learned how to reconnect with this latent wisdom within her body, and now her greatest passion is to share this knowledge with others. Whether you wish to freedive, or simply expand your understanding of yourself, your potential, and your place in the Universe, we highly recommend you to join these fascinating and fun interactive sessions throughout the week. You can find out more here.
YOGA AND MEDITATION
For Sara and Jean Philippe, yoga and meditation and Holistic Freediving are one and the same thing. The word ‘yoga’ simply means ‘union’ or ‘connection’ and, while they come from different lineages in their personal practice and professional training, they share the same belief - that yoga and meditation are key tools for us in the modern world to connect back to a more healthy, gentle, and authentic way of living.
Their sessions each day at sunset are all-level, meaning that everyone can join, including complete beginners, and those with injuries or illness. The sessions are an opportunity to draw your awareness inwards, to experience the subtle sensations within your body and to reflect on their connection with your mind. Over time, this awareness can be refined to direct the mind to instil calm in the face of stressful situations, to connect with peace in the face of conflict or challenge.
If you have any concerns about joining our sessions, we invite you to speak to us in private before joining the week.
It is essential that we meet on the boat at or shortly after 8pm on Saturday 7th September, which means flights should arrive into Marsa Alam late afternoon/early evening, or Hurghada on or shortly after midday on or before 7th. We will sleep on board that night and leave before sunrise the following morning to travel to Sataya Reef, where we will spend the week. The boat will return to port and we will disembark at 10am on Saturday 14th, so your departure flights should be after 3pm from Marsa Alam, or 7pm from Hurghada on or after 14th.
FLIGHTS - MARSA ALAM
The best option for travel is to fly directly into Marsa Alam International Airport, which is a two-hour drive from the harbour where we will meet the Sea Soul.
We have collated information with as many options and possibilities as we can, and will advise you as to other guests’ travel plans, to help you find suitable and convenient options. Please check out lovingly created Magical Encounters Travel Information page, with many many options for flights into both Marsa Alam and Hurghada, to make your travel research easier and faster. We hope it helps you find the right flight for you. Unfortunately the flight via Brussels Airlines on 7th, that we will be arriving on, is now fully booked.
MAGICAL ENCOUNTERS PACKAGE
This is a week to relax, forget about the real world, and leave behind all worries, cares, responsibilities - including money! The package - just £1250 - includes EVERYTHING - the only thing that you need to pay for is alcohol if you wish to enjoy a beer in the evenings, scuba diving if you want to blow bubbles, and your flights.
Please select the deposit payment option in the dropdown menu below to secure your place with a down-payment of just £250. We then ask for two further instalments - in June and August - of £500 each.
This week is an all-inclusive experience so the price of £1250 includes your accommodation, all meals and drinks (except alcohol) on board, all Holistic Freedive coaching, daily yoga and meditation sessions, and your return airport transfer from Marsa Alam or Hurghada.
Scuba diving (full equipment is on board, you can scuba from try-dives to open water)
WHAT TO BRING
Loose clothes for relaxation and yoga
Light wetsuit/triathlon suit for extra warmth, or long sleeved rash vest for sun protection while swimming
Mask, snorkel and fins
Suncreams - please buy organic, reef-friendly creams, as well as organic shampoo, conditioner and body wash
Light clothes, shorts, sun dresses, sarongs, t-shirts
A warmer layer for the evenings and travel
Diary or journal and pen
All images above with thanks to and copyright © Francois Le Page
ABOUT SARA AND JEAN PHILIPPE
Sara and Jean Philippe will be your teachers and guides in this wonderful journey, offering Holistic Freediving coaching and yoga and meditation practices that help you to awaken and balance your inner energies and align them with that of Nature and the ocean. Sara has been teaching Kundalini for over 15 years, and Jean Philippe teaching and practicing a range of disciplines for over 20 years, creating his own unique style of nourishing, restorative practice.
MORE ABOUT YOUR TEACHERS
Sara has been guiding people to discover their depths since long before becoming a world champion freediver. Her journey of self-healing from severe stress-related illness led her to become a Kundalini yoga teacher and ultimately brought her to a new life in the ocean. Here she truly began exploring the concepts of life, happiness, success and failure, and how to reach our human potential, both in and out of the water, on and off the mat. Sara looks to nature for the wisdom that it can impart, and how we can learn to live more in balance with ourselves and our surroundings.
Sara teaches yoga, meditation and freediving internationally, and also provides spiritual coaching to help people explore beyond their perceived limits. She has been involved in several TV documentaries on freediving and human potential, is the founder of Discover Your Depths, and has created her own online training programme, Yoga for Freediving.
Jean Philippe has been practicing yoga for more than 20 years. A difficult childhood and life’s circumstances brought him instinctively to sit in deep meditation about the fundamental questions of our existence; the meaning of life and death, the nature of being and our deeper identity, happiness and suffering, the search for meaning and freedom.
Certified to teach since 1999 he has been educated in various lineages including Sampoorna Yoga with Sri Yogi Hari (USA), as well as with the Swamis of the traditional monastic south Indian ashrams of Yoga Sivananda (Chennai and Neyardam, India; and Paris, France). Jean Philippe’s practice and teaching continue to be inspired by the many teachers of various lineages and traditions that he has been touched by over the years in workshops and seminars in Belgium, and on retreats and travels around the world.
Through structured and flowing classes, Jean Philippe invites his students to connect actively with their body, their breath and their awareness by accepting and respecting the limitations we may experience moment to moment. He reminds his students to return to and nurture a sense of deep peace, balance and oneness that is the core purpose and focus of yoga.
He is also a highly experienced meditation practitioner and teacher, having spent many years studying traditional Buddhist techniques with reknowned masters.
Recently over three years, Jean Philippe created and delivered a programme of stress management and wellbeing in the workplace for the senior management for the investigative branch of the technical and scientific federal police of Belgium.
if you wish to contact us to discuss this or any of our other retreats or programmes, or wish to enquire about creating your own bespoke retreat or coaching course, then please do not hesitate to get in touch with us directly via email - if you prefer to discuss this via phone, please just send us an email with your question and your phone number.