When Evan Pender dives beneath the water’s surface off the coast of Ireland, he enters a huge, strange world that few people will ever see. Pender dives on his own most of the time, but not for long. Pender is almost always greeted by a friendly wild dolphin named Dusty, who appears from the depths to greet him.
For more than 20 years, Dusty has been a fixture along this stretch of shoreline, noted for her interactions with boaters and swimmers. But her fascination in Pender appears to be more than mere curiosity. She appears excited to see him when he goes diving. “When I get in the water, I never check for Dusty,” Pender told The Dodo.
“She finds me, so she must enjoy my company.”
Pender often spends hours in the water with Dusty, exploring the undersea world with her, but always on her terms.
“She initiates all communication between me and Dusty,” Pender explained. “In all the time I’ve dived with her, I’ve never touched her.” I perceive her as a peer, and I don’t want to upset our dynamic by rubbing her.”
Pender and Dusty’s friendship has evolved as a result of that trust and respect, and it shows.
Pender took one of his fins from his feet while out on a dive with the dolphin by his side. Dusty seemed surprised, possibly only then discovering that his fins might be detached.
Dusty seemed to carry that concept with her even after she and Pender parted ways.
When he went to the lake the next day, Dusty came, holding another fin she’d discovered. It was a gift, and with it, the amicable duo played a fetch-style game.