Swimming with Rajan

Alex Kirkbride with J. Brindis

Of all my incredible aquatic encounters, swimming with a six-ton elephant in the crystal clear waters of the Andaman Islands certainly ranks among the most memorable.  Here’s how it happened…

I waded in the water – and waited for Rajan to join me.  It wasn’t long before his entire body was submerged, his feet were off the seabed and he seemed to fly beneath the surface.  Rajan’s legs moved rapidly, and every 15 seconds he lifted his long trunk out of the water, using it as a snorkel to breathe.  He was blissfully relaxed, yet completely aware of my presence. 

A fisheye lens enabled me to remain within a few feet, so that I could capture the details of his skin and simultaneously ensure that his entire body remained in the frame.  Rajan swam and engaged with me for a magical 17 minutes before returning to shore – an unforgettable moment in time.