THE sun is sparkling off turquoise waters and I’m within touching distance of a bottle-nose dolphin, which is lazily splashing alongside our boat.
It is the sort of bucket list moment that people go to Hawaii or the Caribbean to experience.
But I am much closer to home — just an hour’s flight from London in the beautiful channel island of Jersey.
This British outpost is just as much an island paradise as many of its more exotic long-haul rivals.
Here, you will find perfect white sandy beaches, dazzling natural beauty, and the freshest local food.
Then there is the abundance of wildlife, some of which I am getting up close and personal with on a Jersey Seafari.
During these trips on a super-fast rigid-hulled inflatable boat, you can discover some of Jersey’s coastal secrets — or even pop to France for lunch.
And you are very likely to see some of the amazing animals that make these waters their home. As well as the pod of dolphins, we also spot an Atlantic grey seal and enough seabirds to keep any twitcher happy.
The voyage we have picked is a £42, two-hour trip to the Ecrehous, an unworldly group of rocky islands, home to some ramshackle fishermen’s huts and not much else.
Exploring its sandbanks and rock pools, with a little guidance from the super-friendly crew, is a magical experience.
Back on dry land, it is time to recover from our morning adventure with a spot of self-indulgence.
We are staying at the luxurious Club Hotel & Spa in the seaside capital of St Helier, which is the perfect place for some r&r.
The most difficult decision you will have to make is whether to head for the outdoor heated pool and sun loungers on the ivy-clad terrace, or the indoor salt water pool and thermal suite, complete with salt cabin, herbal steam room, sauna and relaxation sanctuary.
Even better, just wrap up in your towelling robe and mooch between both.
Feeling very much rejuvenated, we get dressed and head down to the hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant Bohemia, recently named one of The Good
Food Guide’s top 50 restaurants in the UK.
It does not take us long to figure out why.
We are treated like royalty by its slick serving team, who place a succession of insanely delicious morsels in front of us before we even get to what we have ordered.
The main event is every bit as exquisite as the chef’s treats suggested.
My highlight is the starter of an enormous seared scallop served up with truffle puree and tiny bits of curled apple and smoked eel.
This is a blow-out meal — a £69 set price for three courses — but in terms of value for money, it is well worth it for a special occasion.
As well as some of the most accomplished cooking you will ever taste, you also get all kinds of gastronomic surprises thrown in, and expert help in choosing the perfect wine to accompany.
The next morning we are keen to walk off some of the excesses of the night before so head out into some of Jersey’s countryside. With a 40mph speed limit and quiet winding roads, the island is super-easy to get around.
Pick up a rental car from Hertz at the airport when you arrive and you will have the freedom to explore some of its cute villages.
We parked up in the idyllic harbour-side of Gorey, over-looked by an imposing medieval castle, and set off on a hike through the country lanes.
It is so peaceful and the landscape so stunning, you really feel a million miles from home.
But that is the best part — Jersey is so close, there is no excuse not to go.