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  • Writer's pictureJeanne Johansen


It’s not unusual to see dolphins in the Ware River, about a 20-minute paddle from where we put in on Wilson Creek. The Ware empties into the Chesapeake Bay at Mobjack Bay, maybe another 20-minute paddle beyond. It’s even less time as the dolphin swims.

So they can come into the creek whenever they want, but we don’t see them as often as we’d like. Sometimes when we see them enter the channel, we’ll follow behind, only to have them circle round and start following us. They’re playful that way.

But this particular time Becky’s brother Dave who lives in the western part of the state and hardly ever paddles with us was there. He asked rather casually, “what is that?” At first we thought it was only a fish jumping, but they came on – a pod of maybe six dolphins, swimming at full speed, chasing down fish. They went by in a flash, but they ate quickly, and turned back slowly towards the bay, now ready to play and relax.

The Spanish called the Chesapeake the Bay of the Mother of God. They had a right to name her because they were here before the English – although we were never taught that growing up. They had even converted some of Powhatan’s indigenous people to Christianity before the English came.

And whether or not you believe that Mary is the Mother of God, the Bay has been the mother of all things to the Spanish, to the English, and above all to the indigenous people who lived – or still live – on her shores.

And, yes, a bountiful Mother to the dolphins who still swim her waters.

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