After almost six weeks on this island, it was difficult to accept that Saturday’s boat trip would be the last for Tori and Kaiya. The Renegade has been where we’ve spent almost every afternoon and evening this summer; it’s been our “office,” our vehicle of exploration, our means of collecting important data for the Dolphin Communication Project, and the very hub of our research efforts and relationship building. Aboard the Renegade, we’ve weathered rough seas and endured rain and squalls, thunder and lightning, days without dolphins, scorching heat and sun, and have genuinely loved every minute of it. We’ve witnessed joy and elation on dozens of eco-tour guest faces, after experiencing what it’s like to swim with dolphins in the wild, listened to heartwarming stories of conservation efforts, told jokes, discussed plans for our futures and plans to further protect these animals, as well as their habitat, aboard this vessel. We’ve learned about The Bahamas and all the wonders it has to offer, how to navigate the waters surrounding it, what’s in the turquoise waters, and what makes it such a special and wonderful place on this big, blue, planet…and we’ve learned it all aboard this boat. So many memories are now attached to the Renegade, that the thought of our time onboard coming to an end is as bittersweet as it gets.
Unfortunately, the dolphins we’ve grown to know and love this summer were not inclined to make any type of appearance on this, our last boat trip. We had one sighting of a lone bottlenose dorsal, and when Captain Audley pulled the boat closer, the dolphin retreated to depths in the distance. We continued on our search, spotting a large loggerhead turtle swimming at the surface, but still no further sign of dolphins ever presented itself. We never gave up hope as we all scanned the horizon, but as the hours ticked away, and the sun dropped lower in the sky, it became clear that perhaps saying good bye was just as hard for the dolphins as it was for us (well, so we might like to think!). Left only with memories, gratitude, and heavy hearts, we pulled back into the marina aboard the Renegade for the last time. With only a few short days left of our stay in Bimini, we now find ourselves faced with the new task of readying for our departures.
The Duo (& Kel!)