I was rescued by dolphins and so was Dick van Dyke!
Yes, it is true that dolphins rescued me during a boating accident. It a fantastic story, but the truth is I am not alone. Dolphins rescue humans every year and a few days ago, they rescued Dick van Dyke! Yes, the guy from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Mary Poppins! I can almost hear him singing a tune as the dolphins pushed him ashore to safety.
Click here to read about the rescue of Dick van Dyke.
Click here to read all about dolphins - the day dolphins rescued me, where to swim with them, their intelligence and more.
Below is from my journal of the day I was rescued by dolphins.
Today began relatively ordinary for what became the most extraordinary day of my life.
I woke up by myself in a cute hotel in Road Town, which is the main city on the island of Tortola. Two days ago, my boyfriend moved back to NYC and in my attempt to not torture myself with memories of him; I hitched a ride out of the small campground of Brewer’s Bay to the populated side of the island for some distraction. I carried all my belongings, checked into a classic Caribbean hotel with a friendly staff and began drinking in their bar. Rumor has it that I proclaimed I was the ‘limbo machine’ and I had some unusual bruises to support this story.
I awoke with a painful hangover and left the hotel to bite the hair of the dog that bit me, so the saying goes. After I had kicked back a few over brunch, I meandered around town. I purchased a few sarongs, bathing suits and some sunscreen. Then I passed by a boat shop. I went inside and found my dream boat that soon became a pipe dream with the price tag of $15,000. I left the store, but my head started to spin (and not from the cocktails I had earlier!)
Having a boat was essential to access the remote parts of the island so I could live out my ‘Walden’ dream. I felt like lightening had struck me. I was resolute that the reason that my boyfriend left me is so that I could live out goal of living off the land on a secluded island. I got out my stash of cash and set out to buy a boat.
I inquired with my hotel of where to find a boat within my budget. I figured, I would need money for gas, etc and should spend half of what I had remaining from what I brought to the island ($4934) on a boat - $2500. The hotel manager laughed a hearty laugh and repeated my number aloud while he chuckled and giggled. I left, but I was not discouraged. In fact, I was determined.
Soon after I arrived at the marina, I had several options of boats that were even under my budget. Yes, most of them were covered in patches and hardly looked landworthy, let alone seaworthy. And the owners – yikes! Something about life on the water wears a person down and soon they are missing teeth and have leathered skin.
Then I saw a boat for sale that looked good and started talking to it’s owner: Captain Willie. He introduced himself to me by proclaiming that he doesn’t drink alcohol, while a bottle of rum stuck out of his pants. No, never touches a drop. I told him all about my plans with the boat. He was the first person that genuinely seemed to not only understand what I wanted to do, but was sincerely encouraging.
The boat looked new and he would even help me launch it. All for $2500! I thought to hell with the hotel manager, my boyfriend and everyone who doubted me. I was going to really do it and they would eat their words. Captain Willie drove me up to my hotel and I literally threw all my possessions in the boat. “Good for you”, he said as he drove me to launch the boat. In veracity, I was bold, stubborn, foolish and lucky.
I felt glorious! Having my hand on the motor, steering my own boat was the greatest feeling. I proudly waved at other boats leaving the marina as if I had done it all my life. Fact was, it was my first time. How quickly my arrogance was about to change.
Just out of the marina, I cranked the motor to full speed. I was flying! Then I got out of Road Bay and the waves became large. My high-tech lantern and tent that were gently placed at the front of the boat were flung into the middle of the boat. Yet, I forged ahead at the same speed. With each wave, there was a hard landing and all my things became more jostled. Any decent sailor knows to tie down their belongings, but I neglected to do so (big mistake) and my tent went overboard. I jumped in after it (nearly fatal mistake) and became separated from the boat.
I swam as hard as I could, I tried swimming under water, parallel to the boat, but try as I might, I could not get back to my boat. The current had carried my boat out of my site and I had drifted, too. The tent was somewhat buoyant, though not exactly a life raft. I started to scream out every expletive I knew. My circumstances were bad, but I wasn’t convinced they were dire. I decided to try to swim towards shore, though it was extremely far in the distance.
I swam towards shore. At this point, I was tired. Exhausted more like it. I thought that I was in a pickle and that it was going to be a major hassle, but I was not in danger.
By the time I got near shore, it was too late. The waves were pulling me into the cavernous rocky shore. This is when I got scared, to my core of my being. With each wave, I was closer to the sharp and pointy edge of the shore and I was afraid of being skewered or knocked out. I was trying to protect my head with each wave that pulled me all the way into the caves. One time, I came up for breath too soon and drank a mouth of water. I was coughing up water and it became difficult to tell where the surface of the water was. It was about at this point that I went unconscious.
I think I passed out for a few minutes, though I'm not sure how long I was out.
Things were extremely distorted when I regained consciousness. I was coughing up water and gasping for breath. I did not know what was happening, as all I could think of was trying to get some air. My next moments were panicked. I couldn't tell what was pulling me; I flailed my body around, terrified, only to become more frightened by feeling something slippery beneath me. My mind couldn't comprehend what was happening. I was in shock. I had gone to the edge of desperation about survival and had surrendered to death.
Then, I once I could breath, I felt like I was body surfing a wave toward shore. There was three dolphins swimming briskly, lifting me at my torso. Their heads and fins were above the water’s surface. I was near the shore, but they were swimming parallel to the shore. I felt a moment of relief that my ordeal was over. I couldn't recognize the bay I was in. People had gathered at the beach, down the bay, the equivalent of a couple of New York City blocks.
They were trying to see exactly what was happening. When I came within speaking distance, a man said, “Jesus”. Then were all saying things to the effect of “can you believe that?” When the water became shallow and I could stand, the dolphins swam away. I didn’t get a chance to somehow acknowledge what had happened before they were out of sight.
The fisherman and tourists that were gathered at the shore were asking me questions. I was so traumatized that I could hardly speak. I couldn’t comprehend that dolphins rescued me. I was in extreme survival mode. I almost died. I didn’t have anything, except the clothes on my back. I had no money, no shoes, not even a passport. I was so scared that I just wanted to get back where people knew me and I knew people. I decided I needed to get back to the campground at which I was previously staying.
I hitched a ride to the other side of the island and once the jeep was out of view, I fell to my knees and wept. I started to walk onto the road out to Brewer’s Bay. I arrived at the campground late and everyone was asleep. I snuck into a campsite and slept a sleep that tethered on the touching the other realm.
Posted on Tue, November 16, 2010
by Ms. Dolphina