I am so glad I made the effort to see Moko in Pilot Bay Thursday evening, the day he arrived in Tauranga Harbour. Because, as I predicted, it was my only chance. Moko has disappeared without trace.
|The sun sets on Moko at the Mount|
Unfortunately for me I was unable to search for him on either of these days due to prior engagements; child minding & visiting family. Although, I was able to do a quick drive around some of the likely places that he might be at on both days but I had no luck either. I also walked the Mount’s base track on Saturday morning keeping a watchful eye out for any unusual activity on the water and in Pilot Bay. And from home I scanned the harbour with the telescope regularly just in case I caught sight of a lone leaping dolphin looking for company.
|Matakana Island & the Pacific Ocean|
|Motuhoa Island to the left & Omokoroa to the right|
|Sulphur Point Marina & Mt Maunganui|
|Harbour Bridge Marina|
|Main Beach, Pilot Bay & the harbour stretching away in the background|
|Sulphur Point boat ramp & marina|
|The Strand, Tauranga|
|Sanfords fishing fleet|
|Even the oystercatchers were hove-too into the wind|
|A deserted Pilot Bay|
|Main Beach, Mt Maunganui|
Sadly I had no luck and after two hours of searching I headed home. There was no luck either for a few other dedicated Moko friends who had travelled up from Whakatane to search. Eskdale, the fishing trawler that had caused all the problems was still tied up at the wharf although the rumour mill was working overtime and had it leaving at various times over the next few days. In fact it is still tied up there along with a few other trawlers that arrived over the weekend after a very rough time at sea.
|Dive Cres Commercial Wharf|
And while we all have a great affection for Moko I think I can safely say that everyone’s long term hope is that Moko has returned to the ocean in search of a pod and a female dolphin to call his own. Until we hear otherwise I guess we can only dream that this has indeed happened.
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday I followed the same routine, a drive around all the possible spots, re-checking that the Eskdale was still in port and scanning the harbour and Pilot Bay at least a dozen times during the day through the telescope…..just in case. The last two days the harbour has been a mill pond and it’s been easy for me to follow boats and yachts along the channels hoping to catch sight of a lone leaping dolphin. I even followed the pilot boat in through the entrance a couple of times along with the ships shortly afterwards and then the tugs who came to meet them. Still no luck.
Today(Friday) my only check was the Eskdale (still in port) while I was out on another errand although I still couldn’t help checking the harbour every time I passed the telescope. And then this evening, another drive by to check that the Eskdale was still there(she was) after a call from some Moko friends who had heard (once again) that she had left port and was heading back to Whakatane.
|Moko with a stolen board at Ohope|
Moko you are one very special dolphin, my mate. You have had such a huge and profound impact on many lives, we all will miss you dearly but we wish you well. It’s been a wonderful privilege to meet you and I am so glad I managed to see you when you made your brief visit to my town. Was it good-bye? I hope not.
"There is something about dolphins.
It is difficult to put into words..."
— Mark Carwardine