The ship leaves the marine terminal at 11am. After spending the day on board, I step off the deck the next morning to be greeted by a cool tropical breeze. When I spot skipjack tuna diving in the cobalt blue waters, I realise I've moved on.
As I paddle out to sea in my kayak, I am greeted by all sorts of marine inhabitants. Flying fish arch over the water and sea turtles drift through the waves. On the horizon, a whale and her calf leap over the water. The mother flutters vigorously out of the water, her calf following in a small arc of water. She plunges her majestic body into the ocean surface while her calf silently surrenders to it. Perhaps they are practising acrobatics, or simply playing together.
When I reach the open sea, I see dolphins in the wild.
I am guided by George, an islander of European-American origin. He is one of the descendants of Westerners who immigrated to the Ogasawara Islands in the 19th century. They speak their own dialect, a mixture of Japanese and English, and constitute a multi-ethnic society that is still unknown.
At George's signal, we dive into the water. Immediately, three dolphins appear among the foam. A dolphin swims between its parents. As we keep our distance, the calf quietly approaches us. It seems to have no apprehension. Not knowing what to do, Georges and I freeze when one of the dolphin parents steps in. They all leave together, as a family, towards the blue sea. I hear their muffled cry in my ear. Is it a warning or are they teasing me? I still remember that strangely warm sound.