I’d been listening to our local radio 1XX for 3 days … my ears pinned to the earphones like they were stuck on with chewing gum.  For three days I had been frustrated … no word of where Moko was.  It seemed that all of the reports were about where he had been. 

I heard that he had been chilling out at Whale for a period and that some people had snorkelled with him … he wasn’t there now.

I heard that he had been in the river on Friday playing with the marker buoys … he wasn’t there now.

I heard that he had been in Ohope on Sunday playing with swimmers … he wasn’t there now.

My radio “watch” was proving useless.  It was time to try a different tactic.

I had avoided ringing the Whakatane Coastguard.  Like all New Zealand Coastguards, the one in Whakatane is a purely voluntary organisation.  I was sure that they would have been inundated with calls about where the dolphin might be and were getting quite fed up with this.  This was not the case.  The person that answered the phone was very helpful and, though she herself had not heard anything she told me that Moko had been logged as being in West End, Ohope that morning.

That was all I needed … I was on my way!!!

I drove to Ohope and parked up.  A quick scan of the water with my binoculars was enough to tell me that he was not there.  My heart sank and I prepared to leave.  Just before getting into the car I had a change of mind and decided to brave the trek across West End into Otarawairere Bay.  This is not an easy trek for someone of my physique but I reasoned that, if I found what I was looking for, it would certainly be worth it!!

Half way around the point is a small vantage point that looks out into the Bay.  While gasping for breath I reach into my pocket for my binoculars and scanned the area … and there it was … the circle of bobbing human heads that could only mean one thing … 

I had found Moko!!!

continue …

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