We left as the sun was emerging and got on a boat that must surely be a bit small for the treacherous expanse of water before us. The motor sputters while my mother and I look at the receding shore with growing trepidation. The young captain lays down his cell phone briefly to focus on the task at hand. The motor decides to wake up and we are on our way at last. We crisscross the immense bay looking for dolphins. There are 20,000 of them; three breeds I am told: Small, Medium and Large (!).
When we first rest eyes on them, we stand up in the small embarkation, too excited to be cautious. I eventually lie on the flat bow with my camera, furiously taking pictures, as they swim in graceful curves, up for air, down to gorge on small fish, in perfect unison. Dozens of schools of 4, 6, 10 surround us. Sometimes they disappear and reappear much further. We follow, keeping a respectful distance. After their feeding they accompany us back towards the shore. They propel themselves in the air, twist and splash through the surface. They swim under the boat and jump in front of us, making a whistling sound. The small ones jump and turn in spirals before diving, showing us their pink bellies. Sometimes a whole group dives at once, waving their fan like tails in a neat row. Unbelievable. I have never seen so many of these extraordinary creatures.
I hate to imagine what will become of them once the tourists come to this unspoiled coast in droves. Having seen tourists in the Caribbean, I expect they will want to feed the dolphins, get too close with huge motor boards and otherwise disturb and pollute with the complicity of the local and foreign tour operators.
Even more important to cherish this morning in all its glory.