Richard Moore: Dolphins have tourists jumping for joy

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My goodness, our Bay of Plenty is a magical place.

While the hot conditions of last week brought back memories of home, I was reminded of the side of the Bay that will keep tourists coming back time after time and recommending Tauranga as a destination to others.

It is our natural beauty, the blue skies and our marvellous waters.

I've yet to get out and photograph our big-game fishing operators, but on Friday I headed out on a boat searching for dolphins to get some pictures of those wonderful mammals.

I had not been out since the Rena popped into the area and decided to stay, and so was not sure how the day would go.

A great turnout of dolphins would get visitors talking up our tourism operations, a quiet day - or no sightings of marine life at all - would mean they would leave town disappointed and uninspired by our offerings.

For the first two hours of the trip we saw a few gannets and blue penguins, but little else.

As we approached Rena exclusion zone I looked at the shapes on the horizon and blamed them for the poor showing to date.

But, as was pointed out, an exclusion zone allows the sealife to recover and actually boosts aquatic life. We cruised out to the back of Motiti Island and - Neptune be praised - found ourselves in the middle of a pod of between 30 and 50 dolphins.

The tourists on board were amazed at the spectacle of the dolphins racing our boat, playing around in the water and even showing off with leaps into the air.

They clapped and whistled each time the dolphins got close and their excitement spurred even more work from the members of the pod.

Because there were babies among the dolphins the visitors couldn't swim with them, but their enjoyment at the up-close engagement was obvious. These were tourists from Australia, France, Spain and Britain - and they will go home excited about what they saw.

And this is what will keep people coming back to the Bay.

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I noted with interest the story about the woman who nursed a stray feline back to health and then, when she approached the SPCA to deal with the cat, was told it was now regarded as hers and she had to look after it.

The woman, Pam Andresen, quite rightly was most put out that her good samaritan actions had all of a sudden become one of permanent ownership.

According to Pam she de-flead, wormed and fed the cat to get it back into good enough health for the SPCA to adopt out.

But when she called the animal-loving organisation she was told by an SPCA worker that, because she had had the animal for longer than 72 hours, she was regarded as the new owner.

This didn't please the formerly keen SPCA supporter.

As often happens when the media gets hold of a story, the PR wheels of an organisation click into action, with the SPCA saying they had no such 72-hour policy and apologising for any inconvenience. A part-time, "relatively new" staff member was blamed. The funny thing is, I know people who have had the same problem with the SPCA over quite some time.

They have been told that if they pick up a stray and call the society they are regarded as the owner.

Now if I were to rescue an injured or stray animal, then I do not regard myself as the owner just because an organisation deems me such. That's why the SPCA receives a lot of donations - to help abandoned animals.

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NOW I don't often respond to people's reaction to my columns. However, my view to arm police sparked comments from one "righteous-judge" that have to be condemned.

Have a go at me all you like, righteous-judge, as clearly you are one of those people especially protected by God.

As for the comment: "Note how the coward Richard won't post my comments and is censoring and manipulating the dialogue to present his warped view, which show he has no respect for Kiwi citizens," all I can say is that I have no respect for some Kiwi citizens who slag others off from behind pseudonyms. At least when I say something, it is fully in the public eye with name and photo attached.

richard@richardmoore.com

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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