A Tale of Dolphins and Sun-Protected Thieves

The sweet smell of the lush jungle doused with fresh rain fall, the echo of the indigenous birds you can always hear but never see, and the warm golden mist that visually evaporates from the flash of rain off the hot pavement. These visuals seem as fresh as if I were witnessing them now, but I’m not—I’m sitting at Gate 12F looking out through the dirty window, watching my bags being violently loaded onto the bottom of the plane. With sand still coating my sockless feet and salt crystals on my arms, I remain slightly proud, quite tired, and excited about the past 72 hours. As I look out the window and try to process the past few days running around this small island, highlights spike here and there as I grin with reflection and gratitude. During this contemplation, the whirlwind of this morning’s happenings stand out with stark contrast—and not simply because they’re most recent, but because of the odd sequence of how things played out.

We decided to wake before the sun and drive an hour to the far end of the island in hopes of swimming with some dolphins who are known for being in that area. We arrived, met our friends, and locked our cars accordingly with the beach only footsteps away. As if the pod of beautiful mammals were summoned just for us they, the dolphins arrived by the dozens—small groups of five or six here and there. It was like a Disney movie, except it was actually happening. They made a few passes and then disappeared to a human-free depth. When we got back to the shore, you could see how excited everyone was. It was painted on all our faces. As we walked back to the cars recounting who got the closest and how impressive they were, we were stopped in our tracks at the site of a pool of broken tinted glass. The back left window of our car had been bashed in. They took a phone, wallet, a bag that housed a camera with a set of new lenses—everything. It was quite the reality check and buzz kill, especially after such an immense high from our dolphin encounter just 10 minutes prior.

Along with a handful of valuables the thieves took, they also snagged our last face stick of Auctiv Cocoa sunscreen. The first thing that came to mind was, “We’re going to get so burned. We’re screwed.” You might be wondering why this would be one of my first reactions in the grand scheme of things, but you know how seriously we take this sun business. As we spoke to the police, I couldn't understand one thing—why would they take my sunscreen? I kept chalking the actions up to "Meth-head” behavior, but it still didn’t settle with me. Now that I’m sitting here sipping on my last Mai Tai and gazing down at the beautiful island slowly sinking away on the horizon, I realized that though there’s a thief out there enjoying my camera and attempting to buy $50 worth of McDonald's, he would be well-protected from the sun. Even though he had the mind to steal my high-end DSLR camera setup, he also made a conscious decision to steal what happened to be my high-end tube of sunscreen. I have to hand it to him, at least he takes care of his skin and the environment—and I got to have my dolphins.