Dear Susanne,
since 20 years you organize journeys during which humans, dolphins and whales meet. Where did it begin, where did you start?
Like the virgin came to the child. I loved my live as a co-leader of a conference and meditation center in the middle part of Germany. The first contact with the world of whales and dolphins happened due to my apprenticeship in Aqua Wellness body work.
1993 I was invited by a friend to spend a week on a sailing ship at the Canary Islands. This special week was dedicated to the interspecies communication and took places on a stunning two-master – made completely of wood. It was love on first sight with the whales and dolphins – the rest of the tour wasn’t that great. Amongst others I was seasick for full 3 days.
Before I left for my journey, friends with whom I was living together during this time, said to me “hey, let’s charter the ship and we will have a great cruise next year”. Thus I left the ship, with my first whale and dolphin encounters in my heart, many mixed feelings and a contract for the ship for the next year.
As the journey in the next year came closer my friends suddenly said “hmm… yeah? Well, I don’t know, let’s see…” My warning bells started ringing, the cost for the ship I’ve chartered the year before was 18.000 German Marks at that time for the cruise.
Hence, I had to find other people who wanted to set sail with me and to swim with dolphins and whales… gladly it worked out! It was a marvelous, touching journey which had to be repeated for sure! This is how I started to organize journeys to encounter dolphins and whales.

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Is there any specific source of motivation that drives you to continue organizing such journeys?
Not a specific one. It is not necessary to motivate me – the motivation is always there. I rather have to stop myself from inciting new journeys, projects and more all the time.
The cetaceans and the nature itself are motivation enough! This planet is simply amazing. The ability to simply breathe, that this existence was able to develop itself – whales and dolphins are much older than we are by the way: their development started approximately 90 million years ago, completely independent from the human development. Still there are many commonalities – and the perfection and beauty of nature… to kneel down for what I think!

A018 Baja California 2009 Foto Roland Edler
I love to be at beautiful places and to share experiences and adventures. It is a pleasure to provide people with special and individual settings for their well-earned holidays/experiences and to accompany them during their inner and outer journeys.
For me it is very enriching and fulfilling to see the sparkling eyes of the guests and to sense that they have been touched and when going back home, that they are taking much more with them than just pictures.

Also I got the feeling that my team and me often reach the people and give them food for thoughts concerning ocean and environmental protection – that something is happening in the head and mind of the people. Kind of grass root work…

I am always up for beauty in any shapes and colors!


Did you have to face a dry spell and if so, how did you made it through?
Oh yes, for sure! I am much more a “learning by doing” kind of person. It took years to figure out the right offers, what people need, what is catching? That also meant to operate rather narrow-gauged concerning financial aspects and I had other jobs simultaneously.
About 17 years ago, I offered a sailing trip with Miten and Premal on a huge sailing boat and I had to pay more than 10.000 (DM) on top.
On La Gomera/Canary Islands where I opened OCEANO Gomera in 2008 I had to face several challenges too, puh… this is how I’ve learned surf-riding and adjusting the course of the ship continuously!

There is so much to learn from the ocean and the dolphins: being in movement non-stop, going with the flow instead of wasting power while swimming against the stream, gaining momentum for the perfect wave! Developing flexibility and strategies. As well as to understand that only many small waves together build the great ocean.

What was the most beautiful experience with the soft ocean dweller?

That is pretty hard to say: once I had a very special situation off La Gomera while swimming with Rough – toothed dolphins. They were so close and so interested in us that we became part of the group. Amazing!
Or a Razorback whale next to the boat with Spotted-dolphins in his Bow-wave!
On Hawai’i I had several very touching situations while swimming with the Spinner dolphins… somewhat lost in space and time, the feeling of being alone with them in the ocean.
Well and of course the Gray whales in Mexico – my first kiss with a whale: fugitive, salty, wet and unforgettable!
My first touch with a Gray whale got me deeply and very sustainable. I can still sense the contact and feeling of the silky, strong skin …

A039 Baja California 2009 Foto Roland Edler.NEF
Or maybe it was the intense encounter with the Orcas in the Sea of Cortez? The first Blue whale or the first jumping Humpback whale?

The encounters are all so different and always something new. I like that. No single excursion and encounter is like another.
Ah there is another very beautiful day coming to my mind as we talk: we have been on a catamaran in the Sea of Cortez in the Baja California. The whole day our boat was surrounded by eating Razorback and Blue whales or maybe we were close to them?
Slowly the sun went down and again the sky was showing an orange-red spectacle as it often happens in the Baja (I always say: I would go there because of the lights!) while on the other side the full moon was rising. A Humpback whales was right in front of us, eating too. It got dark, we had dinner, didn’t want to return to the nocturnal spot to drop our anchor, enjoyed the atmosphere and after dinner we sat down on the bow and listened to the Razor- and Humpback whales … listening them breath, whose sounds clearly differ when listened to carefully. Above us the full moon, the ocean as smooth as silk, surrounded by whales, the biggest animals which have ever lived on this planet … if it would have been my decision, we would have stayed there forever!

Baja California Febr. 2009, Whalewatching with Swannie
Many shimmery pearls in my heart – I am looking forward for new ones to add. You surely get a little addicted – that has to be said as a warning!




Is there something we can learn from them?
Oh yes a lot! They have the effect on me of bringing me to the here and now – in this very specific moment. And also the going with the flow, adapting quickly to new situations and something further, which is in my opinion very important nowadays: the community is more important than the individual for the survival, even though dolphins are very individual s and have different characters – it is not necessary to fall by the wayside. Not everyone needs to be the same. It is always about dedication to the greater aim. For the dolphins this means the hunting and in the end the survival of the species.
Another aspect of which I am thinking about more in depth currently: how would our world look like if we couldn’t hide emotions from another, hence making them a part of the big picture? In short: lying is impossible. Dolphins are living in a vitreous world where they can scan their complete surrounding and always know, what his/her fellow is engaged in in this very moment.
Something to think about in a calm moment…


What do you wish the inhabitant of the ocean? Is there something concrete we can do, to support them?
I desire that we take better care of the habitat Ocean (pollution, radioactivity – every day, 300t of radioactive water flows into the pacific in japan – nobody is talking about that anymore – why??!!, Sound pollution, ghost nets, overfishing … to just name a few topics).
It is important to understand that we use the cetaceans as a carrier of the message and that such highly developed, sensitive and emphatic beings more than deserve a protected, clean and peaceful environment but it is also about us … the oceans are soooo important for our climate! They are our source and our survival – as well as our inspiration!


This is a broad questions and how far do you want to go?
A few stimuli:
Supporting ocean protection organizations, engage yourself, not everyone can take care of everything which is why it is recommendable to concentrate your energies and support responsible projects
Signing petitions
knowing which fish you can eat nowadays and which not.
Eat less fish!
Changing the behavior of consumption – what do I really need and how much of that? Get insight in the background of how things are produced? Are toxics involved? Are human rights respected?
Forgo without plastic, especially plastic bags.
Use biodegradable products – we only have ONE water on this planet. Save water.
Don’t go to dolphinarium or orca shows – especially in the Caribbean, Mexico, and the USA etc.
The most important aspect for me is to understand that everyone can contribute, no matter how little the contribution might be. For example: pick up a plastic bag from the street. Someone observes this gestures and thinks: “Yes, actually I could do so too”. Here we are, back at the law of the 100th monkey. If there are only enough people showing one behavior, something changes in the behavior of the group. That is our chance! There are not only “them”, them who are the powerful in this world. It always starts with me – the individual – and we get a lot of power back through that.

What are your plans for the future? What is your vision?

Plans?…. that we continue to offer extraordinary, inspiring and sustainable journeys. I think I will do more presentations in future because there is a part of me that really wants to get something in motion. I would love to contribute to the recognition of whales and dolphins of what they are: unbelievable highly developed, sensing beings which deserve an adequate environment and protection.
As defined by Schopenhauer:

To recognize freely and willingly foreign virtue
one has to have it for onerself

Further I believe that with my partner and team there will be more projects/destinations and ideas evolving and I am curious myself where this journey is heading. It is an always developing continuum.
Recently I started doing day-workshops: Liquid Love – what we could learn from dolphins and BEING human. That is a lot of fun.
I also like to be surprised by life, giving space for: essentials, genuineness and benevolence – and preciousness.
One branch of my natural river of life focuses on my LIFE BALANCE project

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For me, you are a person who is living her dreams. What would you recommend to people who want their dreams to become true? Is there a secret recipe from the expert?

YES! Listen to your heart, your calling and then follow. Keep moving, if you are not heading directly to your goal and you have to take intermediate steps … sometimes it takes a while until what goes around comes around. To understand that you can only succeed and work to your full potential in areas that you like. Cherish what you are good at and don’t try to be able to do everything … stick to it!
Everything is possible! Have your image clear and start your approach – at least one step every day. Stick you it, don’t be misled. Be yourself worth it.

Thank you for your openness!

Asked by and laughed with Claudia Nickel

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