Since Dusty has decided to commute between the paradisiacal island of Inis Oirr and the noisy oil soup of Doolin Harbour it has taken a lot of my patience to coincide with her. Also due to my very late start this year I have only swum with her twice out of the eleven swims total on both locations. Oddly enough these two successful swims yielded great photos and footage.
Last Wednesday, the second of August, was a day that bordered on the Magical. Not too blindingly sunny, but pleasantly warm and on arrival at Inisheer one glance off the pier not only revealed the dolphin, but also the crystal clear water she swam in.
When I went in lots of people were crowding the slipway as Dusty was coming in very close. Craig was already in the water, but Dusty had seen me and she came almost out of the water to say hello. The odd thing is that people did not realise Dusty came in so close to meet me. I had to excuse my way to the water line, where it takes another ten minutes get my mono on and to prepare my diving mask and snorkel. Finally I had butt-hopped to the side of the slipway where there was sufficient depth to get water-born. Once in the water we had an intense off-camera reunion with cuddles and caresses in all the right places.
There is nothing to see but sand in front of the slipway. Not this time. It didn’t take more than an Eye-dive to see the delicate rippling of the sandy surface and, in distances seldom seen before seaweed bushes, high rise weeds and big leaf stalkings, sprinkled by mega-migrations of sand eels, a random shooting over of big fishes, centimeter fish swarming like flies, an imbroglio of seductive lace weed full of secret passages, connecting sandy nests, framed in leafy el dorados. All washed over by crystal clear faraway visibility (or Jodi’s ‘Visibility forever’).
This was pure floating in A-grade viz. This was like from forever living in fog suddenly all clear everywhere. With all the eye hold the look-around gains extensive 3D. The space under water is so hidden from off-shore perusal, but sub-surface a world unfolds, an expans, populated with life in ever changing dispositions, from water sculpted hole-rocks, all-round encrusted and soft only to the eye, to mysterious Deepweeds where sudden fishes shelter from their shadow.
Dusty is nearly never out of sight, I can see her continuous whereabouts from Snoutscapes to Pandoramas. She is everywhere and with Craig, flatbottoming on his back with his selfie stick turned towards the dolphin. This could never be on land, this ballet in zero-gravity and the resistance of water turning it into elegant slomo. Now you get an answer to ‘where does she go when ’she powders her nose?’’
The answer surprises: she keeps describing circles without sudden changes in course. With less clear, average visibility, she appears from very unexpected angles. Is she refraining from this, because the clear viz takes away the element of surprise?
And why this persistence to surprise? She is continuously seeking position and when I don’t see her she has strategical advantage. When I spot her behind me she immediately sees this and then she overtakes me and we describe a curve so wide that, on the inside, I can keep up with her for a while. This sneaking up can hardly be anything else than prey behaviour. But we are no prey and hardly a threat, because she comes to us on her own initiative. Might there be a controversy between curiosity and caution?
And once she is ‘caught’, then it’s ‘face off’ and she moves into dominance by bending the course and ultimately going too fast.
This also calls for questioning the circle trajectory. This could be a covering of her territory. Where pod-dolphins keep an eye on each other, Dusty uses the run around for her security routine. This becomes very apparent when she rests or sleeps, always in rounds.
At the ‘Pet Rock’, the protrusion next to the pier, Dusty feels trusted and loved. Simona never seems to get tired loving her similitude in Dusty and vice versa. The Pet Rock is crowned with aficionados, this must be first class to Dusty, while the pier holds the balcony. The lower pier is filled with ship, but the rear as a maritime grace just leaves access to the steps. Where Craig is up and about practising ‘All you need is love’.
I said ‘do something interesting’ and there was Simone with an entire tyre, rubber and all, a very dolphin sized toy. Dusty knows them best as shock absorbers on boats. But she is intrigued by Simona’s handing of the tyre, wondering what purpose this serves. I’m hoping Simona will put the tyre around her neck, giving Dusty more food for thought…
I’m done, getting chilly and just want to swim, so there I go, along the edge of the ship’s lane, with dives on the precipice,
and through the weedfields. I wonder, how can it be that the proximity of the harbour has huge weed populations, while further towards the beach there is one big sandy desert. One would expect the opposite but only within 10, 15 meters from the rocks at the other side vegetation re-appears. Maybe the weeds get scraped by the shifting sands. As happy I was to go in from the slipway as tired I feel in the accruing embrace of gravity on my re-emergence. Leaning on my waterwing my feet seek their way into my wet shoes and I find my dodgy way across the unforgiving crags to my rock spot. Now to get out of my suit so far I can keep seated and cozy into my patent double towel relief.