After six months down in the land of the Kiwi working as a dolphin swim guide, I've been exposed to more beautiful marine creatures than I can even comprehend. I have had so many "first" sightings this season! Sperm whales...blue whales...dusky dolphins...common dolphins...Hector's dolphins...South Pacific humpback whales...it gets my head spinning. But the most common cetacean species I hang out with is the dusky dolphin, and they're one of my favorites. They're out here frolicking every single day in the hundreds, living the dream life, backflipping and leaping out of the water anywhere you turn your head. Every single day I get to visit them in their beautiful world and introduce them to travelers from all over the world.

And although they're here in crazy numbers, there are a few dolphins that we can recognize based on their quirky dorsal fins or distinct scars. One of my best dolphin friends out here is Bento, the frisky little dusky with a big heart and a dramatically bent dorsal fin. He's been an occasional visitor over the summer, seen three or four times each month. My fellow guides and I are intrigued by his fin and curious about what might have caused this odd, yet beautiful, deformation. It doesn't appear to be hurting him or harming his swimming abilities in any way, shape, or form. In fact, I've noticed he's one of the most playful dolphins I've been able to swim with! Whenever we see Bento on the boat, we always get way too excited and joyfully point him out to any passenger on board who will listen. Most are just as excited to see him as we are!

On an afternoon off, which also happened to be my 26th birthday, I decided to go for a swim. I wanted to spend the kick-off of my 27th orbit around the sun with saltwater in my suit, so I hopped on board Lissodelphis with some friends and we journeyed out to Goose Bay to play with some duskies. And I was SO EXCITED that Bento decided to pay me a visit in the water! I managed to snag some footage - check it out below. He's a cutie. 

I haven't been blogging much lately, and I'm hoping to turn that around soon. In the meantime, I'm going to start using my Instagram story as a way to post little quirky videos of conservation inspiration - small choices and actions we can take on a day-to-day basis to live a more eco-friendly life. Connect with me, mates!

Thanks for an awesome swim, Bento. May your bent dorsal fin take you places you've never dreamed of in your beautiful underwater life. 

An Ode to Bento

A little bit quirky
A little bit shy
But jump in the water
He’ll look you in the eye

Bento’s a dusky
Living his life
Flying through the water
Deeper than Fyffe

I swam with him on my birthday
He made my heart pound
I was so excited
I made weird sounds

Bento the dolphin
Lauren the girl
For a few minutes
Together in the brightest blue sea

A little bit quirky