Photographer captures amazing moment sea swimmer is joined by pod of dolphins off Sunderland coast
This was the moment a sea swimmer was joined by a pod of dolphins as she trains to swim the English Channel.
Verity Green will set out on the 21 mile challenge to reach France to raises funds for Hearing Dogs for Deaf People.
Roker is among a number of outdoor spots where she is training and she was putting the hours there on Sunday, June 20, when photographer Daz Martin captured the moment dolphins joined her.
The 40-year-old was so focussed on her training that she didn’t realise the pod of dolphins had joined her.
She said: “The funniest thing about this all was that I was still near the start of my four hour swim, so I was quite task-focused.
"I stopped to look where this boat was going – it turned out to be the harbour master – and saw some jumping in the distance and smiled.
"I am kind of glad I didn’t see them at the time they were that close, there is something about not freaking out that means I’m not disturbing their habitat.
“When I saw the photo however, I was amazed.
"I couldn’t believe what the perspective must be for everyone looking down from the pier.
"I was so grateful to track down Daz and he shared the pictures for the fundraising and the awareness and donations that have come as a result.”
The advanced physiotherapist, who works for County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust and lives in Catterick Garrison, wants to raise as much cash to help train the dogs, which offer life changing and saving support.
Sunday’s swim also sparked a connection between Verity and Daz, who has helped share her funding campaign and is now planning to capture more shots of her training.
Daz, 48, and partner Carolyn Wall, 44, had spent more than two hours watching up to 30 of the mammals leaping out of the water and were close to stepping off Roker Pier when Carolyn pointed out more close to the patrol boat.
He said: “I stopped and took more photos.
“When I looked at them, I noticed that there was a swimmer amongst them, which I believe to be a rare occurrence for dolphins to naturally swim near people.
"I got home, edited all my photos and uploaded them to my Facebook photography page, Daz Martin Photography.”
He has also shared them with a series of other pages and says the response has been “unreal”, with the posts helping to spread the word about Verity’s fundraising appeal.
He added: “Verity saw the photos on Facebook and contacted me about them.
“I asked if she'd realised when she was swimming that there were five dolphins swimming right next to her, which she replied, ‘No, I didn't!’ and went on to say, ‘Swimming with dolphins was a childhood dream, along with the Channel - so I've achieved one.’
"She was over the moon with the photo and it's been shared many many times all over Facebook and Instagram.
“I'm absolutely thrilled for her that my photo is giving her the exposure that she needs to reach her fundraising goal.”