This first full day of my Outer Banks journey, I headed to the Manteo waterfront for an 8:30 a.m. Dolphin Cruise with Captain Johnny. My sister, Peggy gave it to me for my birthday back in March. She turned sixty the same month and likes gifts that offer the recipient a memorable experience; get out and do something you might not otherwise do. For her Big Birthday, I gave her a ticket to see the musical “Grease” at our hometown regional theater. Because I couldn’t send her alone, I had to buy myself a ticket. We had an enjoyable evening that we may not have taken the time for given our busy schedules. Heading out into the Roanoke Sound, I thought of my sister and how pleased she’d be with the perfect May morning and how I looked forward to my time on the water, watching with anticipation.
‘Captain Johnny’ at the boat’s helm was actually the grandson of the real Captain Johnny who founded that cruise business. He told us over the microphone how some dolphins stay in the sound and others live in the ocean. They prefer water that’s about four feet deep. I was amazed that the huge body of water beneath us was only around 3 – 4 feet. The captain guided the pontoon-style boat under the bridge and then began to pick up speed. A fisherman had radioed him that he’d seen dolphins. All six of us passengers searched for the rise and fall of dorsal fins. One by one we each spotted the creatures pointing in the direction of our siting.
What I loved most was seeing a Mama Dolphin with her baby swimming in tandem. The captain told us he could spot a newborn dolphin by the ‘fetal folds’ that appeared like zebra stripes where they’d been curled up in fetal position before they were born. I thought of my grandson, Baker and how he had little folds at his wrists that are now filled out as a one year old.
The dolphins were scattered this morning, never more than a couple swimming in the same area. Captain Johnny told us you never know how many you’ll find or where they’ll be traveling. In the area with lots of dolphins, he killed the motor and let us just watch, as we stood on the boat that was gently rocking back and forth. Ibis and egrets and pelicans flew over and landed on the shore of a tiny island. Fisherman worked at a boat nearby, pulling up their crab pots to see if they’d made a catch. It was a spectacular morning on the water.
I’ve loved dolphins since I was a girl and watched the television show, “Flipper.” As I remember it (since I don’t have time to do a fact check!), the boy on the show lived in the Florida Keys and he got to swim with his porpoise friend, Flipper. That animal had the cutest ‘happy’ sound and eyes that seemed to smile. I just wanted to hug him!
You won’t get that close to a Roanoke Sound dolphin. Captain Johnny says it’s a Felony Offense to do anything to lure the animal including feeding, touching, etc. A sign said that not only may you not smoke or drink alcohol on the boat, you can’t have bananas– because supposedly the dolphins won’t come nearby if there are bananas. Captain Johnny said to Google it, but again, I haven’t had time for that fact check. All I can say is I’m glad my banana and sunflower butter sandwich was in my car!
After the tour, I was at the counter of a coffee shop purchasing my cup of French Roast and a bookmark entitled, “Advice from a Dolphin” by Ilan Shamir caught my eye. Reading through the list, I liked the one, “Glide Through the Day with Ease.” I thought of how fluid those dolphins move, so gracefully covering their miles. How nice it would be if humans could move with more ease.
Some Solo Journeys, I meet people in my path that teach me things– and I may on this trip. But today, it seemed that watching those incredible creatures provided a relief, seeing them glide through life when it can be so bumpy for we humans.
I only wish I could have heard the dolphins happy sound and seen their smiling eyes.
How About You?
Which of the bits of Advice from a Dolphin do you like?
How would you want to see it applied?