(By “The Fairy Podmother,” Monica Lynn) In two words, love and gratitude. That’s why I do what I do. For those unfamiliar with me, I hail from Ohio and made my way to our island paradise eleven years ago. It wasn’t until 2017, however, that I began to fully appreciate the wonders of this place when I finally took to the water in my kayak.
An amateur photographer and writer all my life, I documented each adventure as it unfolded before me. I was in absolute awe as I observed, for the first time, wild dolphins free of the confining walls of a tiny tank, simply playing and jumping for joy.
I remember the first time a young dolphin swam by my sea wall, looked up at me, and as our eyes met, seemed to reflect the same curiosity and wonder I felt for him. Hot tears of joy streamed down my face at that moment of sweet connection. A sense of deep gratitude washed over me. It was validation and an invitation to step through another door as an accidental advocate, a Fairy Podmother, as it were, for our dolphins.
I have always felt a deep connection with nature and have been involved in animal rescue all my life. My background is in feral cat and farm animal rescue and I am still actively involved in and passionate about those causes. I have always fought for the underdog. That’s one reason I mistakenly felt that dolphins didn’t need my help. They certainly aren’t an underdog; in fact, they are arguably one of the most popular, beloved animals in the world.
However, my time on the water revealed to me that their very popularity created a host of problems for them. The beautiful thing about dolphins is that just about everyone turns into a five year old child when they see them. We scream with glee and just want to be as close to them as possible. Therein lies the brunt of the problem, we all turn into five year old children in their presence and, too often, reason and good sense fly out the window when we see them.
In an effort to observe dolphins up close, people resort to the very things that can hurt them. Feeding them, trying to touch them, or driving boats or jet skis dangerously close to them is the worst thing we can do for these incredible beings that bring us so much pleasure and joy. Most people are simply unaware of the danger of these seemingly harmless activities. That’s what moved me to use my photographs and videos of our dolphins to benefit them by kindly educating their human admirers.
I am forever grateful to my late friend and mentor, Dr. Leroy Hommerding, the former director of the Fort Myers Beach Library. After seeing my dolphin photography website, he invited me to give regular monthly presentations on our dolphin pod at the library. ‘Perfect love throws fear aside’ and so my love for our dolphins overcame my fear of public speaking. I believe that seeing actual videos and photographs of our local dolphin family enables others to feel the same connection to them that I do. This, in turn, moves them to a greater respect for and desire to protect our pod.
I feel it is so important to treat humans with the same respect we want them to show our dolphins, and all living beings. When people understand why there are certain laws in place to benefit dolphins, they are more likely to willingly modify their behavior. Through my writing, photography and presentations, I hope to continue to serve as an advocate and Fairy Podmother for our beautiful dolphin family. I owe them a debt of gratitude for the joy and peace they have given me.
All photographs taken by Monica Lynn from her kayak.
(If you can share the following, I would be so appreciative ,but understand if I’ve used too many words already. Lol)
Be A Pod Protector:
- Don’t feed or touch dolphins.
- Don’t corral or encircle dolphins with boats or personal watercraft.
- Don’t drive directly toward or over dolphins.
- Don’t deliberately encourage dolphins to jump in your wake.
- Don’t entice/lure dolphins to you with loud noises, dolphins whistles or sounds.
(If you witness dolphin harassment, record if possible & call NOAA at 1-800-853-1964)
Monica Lynn can be reached by email at email@example.com
or you will probably see her out on the Back Bay in her Kayak.