Good neighbor + good timing = good show

Sometimes I’m just amazed at the kindness of strangers.

Some benefactors make me want to be a better, more generous person.

Don was that good neighbor to us yesterday.

He took us for a boat ride, and it turned out to be the most memorable jaunt on the water I think I’ve ever experienced.

We visiting the area of Ten Thousand Islands. I find this ironic, coming from the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Here in southwest Florida, the bits of land are sprinkled in the water like the pools of water are spread across the land in Minnesota.

Don has spent his winters here for 30 years so he has a lot of experience navigating these shallow waters between islands and mangroves (or, he joked, he has one year of experience 30 times over).

The wind was calm, and the sun was high in the sky. Don has a boat, and he offered us a ride. Who wouldn’t want a boat ride on such a beautiful day?!

He toured the nearby mangroves, showed us an osprey nest (I’m pretty sure it was an osprey — I’m no birder) and brought us to the edge of the Gulf.

And then the show began.

He instructed us to look for fins in the water, and we spied some dolphins frolicking in one of the bays.

As we approached, another boat met us from the other direction, and the dolphins discovered his wake. What fun!

dolphin leaping

Then the dolphins discovered our wake. There must have been at least a dozen of them! I’m no National Geographic photographer (and I only had my iPhone), but several times we saw dolphins right next to our boat and swimming beneath us.

Here’s a shot of a school of dolphins behind us (do dolphins swim in schools?).

dolphin school

And here’s a shot of dolphins swimming in front our boat.

dolphin close

For 20 or 30 minutes, Don drove around and around in circles playing with these amazing and charming creatures. More than once he said we were being treated to a special show; he meant the dolphins, but I know his patience and knowledge of the waters had brought us to this serendipity.

Don’s kind offer and generosity with his time meant we got a special gift — a personal, up-close performance of some of nature’s most fascinating sea life.

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