Chance of a lifetime
Dilo the dolphin liked people. In fact he liked them so much he spent most of his time in a bay where there were lots of people and lots of boats. He enjoyed nothing more than to ride the bow waves of fishing boats full of holiday-makers and then jump as high as he could into the sky.
Sometimes he deliberately landed with a huge splash. This would send spray flying. The fishermen knew what to expect and would duck out of the way. The unsuspecting passengers would shriek with surprise when they were drenched with sea water. Their cries would soon turn to laughter when they got over the shock.
In fact that was the main reason why most of them were on the boats. They had seen the sign on the jetty: TRIPS TO SEE THE DOLPHIN and decided it might be a pleasant way to spend some time. If they were undecided and wandered off, a man, who looked like a fisherman, would approach. Actually he wasn’t a fisherman at all. He was an out-of-work actor who helped the fishermen find customers.
“Don’t miss the chance of a lifetime,” he would say. “See the dolphin in his natural environment - children half price.
If they moved on he would walk alongside them telling them what a wonderful experience it would be.
“You’ll he sorry you missed this wonderful opportunity he would continue. The dolphin could he gone tomorrow. You’ll regret it if you miss out”
If this line was the successful he would steer the group towards the steps on the jetty. Then in a loud triumphant voice, he would shout to the boatman, “Four more for a trip to see the dolphin. Boss”.
He called the fishermen ‘Boss’. It made them feel important. He also made sure that they knew it was him who had enticed their passengers on hoard. In that way the boatmen wouldn’t mind quite so much giving him a share of their takings.
He enjoyed acting the part of the barker and was always on the lookout, even when he was helping customers onto the boat. If he saw any likely trippers on the jetty he would call up to them. ‘This way ladies and gentlemen for a boat trip around the bay. See the dolphin.” Then he would add, ‘The boat leaves shortly.”
What he really meant was the boat would leave as soon as it was full. How long that was depended on his skills.
Most of those who went out to see the dolphin were holiday-makers who had wandered onto the jetty. Sprinkled amongst them, however were others who had travelled long distances to see Dilo. They felt especially attracted to dolphins. For them a visit to Lighthouse Bay was a pilgrimage. To see a wild dolphin at close quarters was a dream come true.
The fishermen had their own reason for liking Dilo. He brought extra trade - lots of extra trade - for their boat trips. There was plenty of friendly rivalry with the nearest fishing port that didn’t have a dolphin like Dilo to attract tourists.
Nobody knew why Dilo had chosen to stay in Lighthouse Bay. So the fishermen made up a story. They said his mother had been killed by a shark and the orphan dolphin had been fed by fishermen. “That’s why he is so friendly and stays here,’’ they reasoned.
This was partly true. For Dilo was in fact an orphan. His mother had been accidentally killed in a fishing net far away off Seal Island. After that he wandered until he swam into Lighthouse Bay. It was a safe haven and there were plenty of fish to eat. But the main reason why he stayed was because one day he met a girl swimming in the sea. They became friends. Her name was Debra.