Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I do not profess to be an expert on the subject of Vineyard waters; however, I have spent many hours through more decades than I would like to admit in pursuit of its many bounties. I’d like to share what is, in my life, an unusual event.

Earlier this summer, while on a trip with my son, we encountered a pod of common dolphins between Noman’s and Gay Head. Unfortunately I had only my point-and-shoot camera to record the event.

Last Saturday much to my delight I found myself in the midst of yet another pod of dolphins just outside of Menemsha harbor, and this time I had my good camera. Our interaction, and yes it was just that, provided me with a glimpse into the lives of these beloved animals. After the initial contact they examined me and my boat. How amazing is it to have a porpoise come to my boat, stop and look up to study me for some 15 seconds. What did they see? Do they share the same excitement and sense of curiosity as do I? Time and time again I moved toward their pod and they responded either by swimming with my boat or looking up at me with my camera. It was the first time I had ever had the chance to look closely at the group dynamics. I saw a full range of sizes including babies just two feet long. The parents guided the young to keep a safe distance from my boat but the older members glided through the water mere inches from the hull. After some time I decided to leave them alone and they moved away. It was a deeply moving experience.

I am reminded of how important it is that we humans understand the need to protect their home, our shared ocean. As smart as they are they possess no voice, at least that we understand, and have no say about how we use their home. That is up to us.

David Damroth, Chilmark