In 2009 I drove the whole way around Australia in a camper van with my friend Teresa. Driving around a country is my favourite way to see it, because it means you can always take a detour. While we were in Australia taking detours led us to, amongst other things: Stromatolites, Supa Golf, Scenic World, a frisky couple's caravan, a drive-in cinema, amazing deserted beaches, and to Monkey Mia.
Even though it was a dead-end and at least a 5-hour detour, the name was good enough that it seemed worth the drive — we also thought we could probably camp there for the night. When we got to Monkey Mia we found out that it was just some kind of resort, and we definitely couldn’t camp in the car park. It felt like one of those times when the detour wasn’t worth it, like the time our camper van was broken into. But we decided we should at least take a swim in the ocean so it wasn’t a complete waste.
While we were in the water I noticed a grey fin pop up behind Teresa. I shit myself, obviously, and began wishing I’d spent less time skipping swimming lessons in high school. The fin swam round Teresa and came out of the water right in front of her, attached to a dolphin. This is where I should post a photo of that dolphin, because it swam around with us for a while, and we had a waterproof camera. But, the whole time Teresa was shouting “take a photo!” at me I was thinking “but, is that really a dolphin?” — I’d heard sharks are pretty sneaky.
The dolphin swam away after a minute or so, and we got back into the camper van to carry on with our journey. The moral of this story is, you should always take the detour. Swimming with a dolphin is at the extremely good end of the “things you might find on detours” scale. But it’s surprising how much can be hiding down an unfamiliar street, or on a different route home. Contrary to popular opinion, curiosity did not kill the cat — it was a shark disguised as a dolphin.