A 13-year-old Auckland boy had the experience of a lifetime when a small pod of dolphins dropped in to the bay below his family's bach - and he captured it all on video.
Milan Wilson and his family were at their bach at Matheson Bay on January 4 when the dolphins arrived near the beach.
His mother Emma Wilson told the Herald that the family watched the animals for a long time and couldn't see any juveniles in the group so allowed Milan to head out to meet them.
Wilson said that her son was out in the bay for around an hour as the dolphins swam and jumped around him, adding that that "they just seemed to love him" and the one-hour experience was "pretty unreal".
The video shows a clearly excited Milan just metres away from the dolphins as they flip above the water and follows him as he dives below the waves to join them when they swim underneath.
His mum told the Herald that the family call Milan "the dolphin whisperer" for his uncanny ability to encounter the animals and described him as a natural outdoorsman and a lover of the ocean. He posts videos of his encounters to his YouTube channel.
Although she described him as a confident swimmer, Wilson admitted to some nerves as the dolphins jumped near her son.
"I was freaking out a little bit, they were really big," but said he was careful when he was out on the water.
She said the dolphins appeared to be playing with him and seemed to feed off his energy, jumping higher as Milan yelled in delight at their antics.
Wilson has received messages from around the world since the video was posted online and said it showed how lucky we are to live in New Zealand where encounters with the "amazing, beautiful creatures" are not uncommon.
There are rules concerning contact with marine mammals in New Zealand's coastal waters.
A Department of Conservation spokesperson told the Herald it appeared that Milan had a "fun" experience.
"Most dolphin encounters are from boats so in that respect it is unusual to be swimming with dolphins from the shore. If the dolphins did not appreciate his presence, I am sure they would have swum away. Still, it that situation, I think it would be wise to stay on the shoreward side of the pod," they said.
DOC provided the following guidelines to the Herald for swimmers and boaties that encounter whales and dolphins:
• Stay at least 50m away from any whale.
• Stay at least 200m away from any baleen or sperm whale mother and calf.
• Do not swim with whales.
• You may gradually increase speed to outdistance dolphins.
• Do not exceed 10 knots until more than 300m away.
• Do not swim with dolphin pods containing juveniles. Juveniles are half the size or smaller of an adult.
• Vessels need to stay at least 20m away from the water's edge where seals may be present.
• Swimmers need to stay at least 5m away from the water's edge.