The End of the Dolphin Swim Club?
This is the first update about the Dolphin Swim Club in quite a while. As for so many of us, the past years of the pandemic have been a difficult time for us personally. I lost a parent, and at the same time my husband Benno, who is also the producer of the Dolphin Swim Club VR, suffered a stroke. So, it was time to take a rest for him to fully recover. And he thankfully did!! As was also the case for most of us, traveling was on pause as well. We were afraid that this might be the end of the breathtaking journey of the Dolphin Swim Club VR, which started as my art project in 2015.
The Dolphins Remained Free as Ever
This, however, was not the plan of the dolphins. They, of course, remained free as ever and unaffected by any pandemic in their ocean world. Even the virtual dolphins kept on traveling as never before, continuing to find their way to bring well-being to clients globally. They even helped Intensive Care personnel to have brief moments of relaxation during their heroic efforts to care for an overwhelming number of patients. Here you find an example filmed by a Dutch news show: Een Vandaag. It shows the VR goggles of one of our partners being used by IC personnel in several hospitals in the Netherlands. This, and many more inspiring stories I would love to share with you. This project never ceases to amaze me. What have the dolphins been up to, while we were in our cocoons at home?
Reach for a Dream in South Africa
In the early months of 2021, the Dolphin Swim Club was contacted by Dominic Eskofier and Maxine Nel, both working for Eden in Johannesburg, a research and development lab exploring emerging technology.
Eden works with South African non-profit organizations like Reach for a dream. This organization seeks to bring comfort to terminally ill children and their families, by providing these dreamers with the opportunity to realize some of their greatest wishes.
During the pandemic, it was a great challenge for Reach for a dream to make dreams come true for these children. So, they teamed up with Eden for a very special project: supplying 14 Virtual Reality headsets with content that speaks specifically to children’s dreams. And which child doesn’t dream of swimming with dolphins?
A Sweet Escape
The dolphins visited the Charlotte Maxeke Hospital in Johannesburg. The kids absolutely loved the experience. The dolphins truly put many smiles on kids’ faces. The doctors were also blown away by how much the kids were distracted from their hospital environment.
Because this visit was such a great success, Eden has delivered 6 more headsets to hospitals in Cape Town and Durban. And the Dolphin Swim Club has donated the swimming with wild dolphins in Virtual Reality content to Reach for a dream. It is now featured in their dream kit, which is bringing quite a bit of magic to children in South African hospitals.
Connect With the Beauty of This Precious Planet
I have wondered why just experiencing swimming-with-wild-dolphins-in-virtual-reality has the beneficial effect that it has on users. Why do so many people dream of meeting, and swimming, with wild dolphins? What many users tell me is that by having a sense of being fully emerged in the turquoise ocean, surrounded by a large pod of wild dolphins, they can connect with the beauty of this precious planet. They experience a sense of peacefulness and an existence in freedom. As a dear friend once said: “If only we could see each other through the eyes of a dolphin. We could achieve world peace within a generation”.