It seemed nothing more than an ordinary Friday. Grey skies with a persistent blue streak over Connemara. Yet Verena had a sudden premonition when we arrived at the Shelter rock: 'It's a Dolphin Day', she said, 'a Special Dolphin Day'.
I have learned to appreciate her sudden insights, she holds her own soft ware-abouts.
We changed with a shiver while Christine treaded a few waves, but Dusty oddly withheld her natural curiosity. The tide was in, so we conveniently launched ourselves from the Pool Rock. The water was so murky that it took me a while to find the Pollenawatch head to tap my key rhythm. We swam out for a visibility that did not really improve and dived to a sunken seabed to target our body for the dolphin's sonar.
It was all to no avail. Even floating up from 8 meters while tapping my sound key with a stone on the monofin did not bring in Dusty. She hardly could be far away. We had seen no boats, nothing that might have lured her elsewhere.
It happened to me more than once before. The promise of an 'any moment' dolphin fading into the vast emptiness of a grey ocean. Her absence only enhances her company, but it takes wisdom to accept this in cold and lonely water.
Then Verena threw a hand towards the side rocks. Dusty's dorsal showed briefly and we hurried over. Again no frontal white speck of her beak that was homing in. This was not real, not her, not Dusty. There had to be something that mattered.
The waterwing highly facilitates maneuverability in the water and I have integrated diverse reconnaissance techniques in my aquatic propulsion. I routinely spun around on a seaside wave with the wing and got the most massive mind opener to my query I could desire. Uncountable numbers of dorsal fins were riding the undulate at less then 30 meters. On 'Dolphin Day' (DA 12 2004) they were a cause for sky high excitement, but now they assumed a more menacing quality, like rows of shark teeth, ever renewing.
On the other hand this might be the one chance to swim amidst bottlenose dolphins. So we went for them, as fast as we could. They let us come close and, had the water been clear, we would have seen them. But they entirely lacked the interest in humans of their solitary sister. Within a minute they were out of sight.
We swam to the corner opposed to the reef as a best guess to pick up on Dusty again. There she was, but nervous and shifty and not to be touched. She showed a fresh wound on her forehead, probably a savage scratch from the edge of a rock. Maybe it was the cat's curiosity, but it seemed more likely to have to do with the other dolphins. We felt clumsy in pity and support. Yet it seemed not to bother her at all.
To let her believe we were on our way out, as she mostly comes closer, we made for the Bathtub. It worked and for the murky water, all went back to normal.
Verena went down to give her a rub and I saw her fondling Dusty's chin, when suddenly the dolphin panicked and with fast, forceful strokes swiveled behind a near rock. I looked up and saw the bay littered with dorsal fins, two setting out to come even nearer. Verena felt a valiant impulse to defend Dusty and swam out. Again the dolphins dissolved before our very eyes.
We went out escorted by Dusty. Her fear had left with the dolphins. The rain washed the salt off our bodies. We had just learned that dolphins are not as sweet in any other game.