Evan Pender has a deep love for the ocean below. Every time he goes below the ocean off the coast of Ireland, he’s entering an otherworldly place which not many will be able to see in their life time. But even though he prefers to explore the down below world him self, he is rarely alone for too long.
On almost every dive journey, a friendly wild dolphin named Dusty comes to greet Pender. Dusty is well known dolphin in die waters of that coastline for more than 20 years. The sweet and friendly dolphin is known for her occasional interactions with boats and swimmers. However she seemed to have bonded with Pender.
“I never look for Dusty when I get in the water. She finds me, so she must enjoy my company… All contact between me and Dusty is initiated by her,” Pender said. “I have never touched her in all the time I have dived with her. I see her as an equal and I wouldn't like to unbalance our relationship by rubbing her."
With the trust and respect for one another, Pender and Dusty’s friendship has blossomed. One particular day when Pender was out for a dive with Dusty at his side, he momentarily removed one of the fins, which seemed to have amazed Dusty as she realised for the first time that his fins were detachable.
It was clear that the thought lingered with Dusty once she and Pender parted ways. However the next day when Pender returned, Dusty was carrying a fin she’d found as a gift which led to the friendly pair then playing a game similar to fetch.
“I think I understand why dolphins play games with objects. It builds trust. With Dusty, she knew that it was as enjoyable for me to dive down and get the fin as it was for her. Otherwise, she would have wanted me to drop the fin for her always. But she wanted me to go down for it. She never skipped a turn.”
Thanks to Dusty’s her kind spirit, and interactions like these, it’s clear that the ocean contains more than just seascapes to explore, and can also contain real emotions.
“I feel at home underwater. I love being around Dusty, and our friendship is getting stronger and stronger.”