Three girls….women actually, floating on a boat near Boca Grande Pass chumming for shark. We were looking for an adventure. Or shall I say looking for a climax to our adventure of three girls….women actually, boating in Boca Grande Pass.

In the morning when we launched Heidi said, “Yvette, say a pray for us.” I spouted off a quick keep-us-safe, let-us-enjoy, and oh, show-us-your-glory prayer.

We’re covered.

Now, let’s go.

Smoke from a wild fire miles away was being blown all over our water playground. I smelled the smoke when I woke up. Laying in bed thinking of that and how the one cold sore on my lip spread to two, I considered texting Heidi and cancelling.

It’s gonna be a bad day. All this smoke and my cold sores must be a sign.

 I didn’t cancel. But I didn’t commit to making the most of it either. Reluctant, I went.

10:45am and we just finished running to our first fishing hole. Elena casts and instantly catches a fish. Then Heidi catches one too. It’s my turn; no fish. Elena catches another. Then Heidi. Me…still no fish. I must be cursed.

Eventually I catch a fish. We all kept catching them. Nothing big, but it was fun! Three girls….I mean women….fishing in the big blue ocean because we can.

Maybe today won’t be so bad after all.

But then a rain cloud came…the only rain cloud for miles. 100 square feet and right over our boat. I settle back into: It’s a sign.

“I wonder if it’s a bad sign when you’re the only boat with a rain cloud over head?” Nobody answered.

It came time to move to the next fishing hole.

“All right, let’s cast,” says Heidi as we cozy up along some grass flats. At this point I notice the skies have cleared, the smoke is gone, and it’s only sun.

Nice. When did this happen?

We catch more fish. More fun! And I’m feeling a little confident as I pull up a baby trout.

Chum is what you use to attract other fish, particularly shark. To make chum, you cut up baitfish and let their guts bleed out into the water so shark smell it and venture in your direction for a bite. So here we are, just off Boca Grand Pass, with chunks of fresh sushi attached to very large hooks on not-so-large fishing poles off the back of the boat.

Now this is kind of fun. We could die out here.

Three girls….I mean women….trying to catch an enormous shark all by ourselves.

What are we thinking?!

We decide to fish off the other side of the boat when and all of the sudden we see a large gray blob coming toward us.

A manatee, way out here? Random. Wait. That’s not a manatee. “It’s a dolphin!”

“Heidi, get your camera!” I whisper-yell.

Elena and I crouched down to splash our hands in the water to keep the dolphin’s attention. As we splashed, the dolphin came closer, and closer! So close, it was inches off the boat! It was looking at us through the water window like we were aliens from outer space and it was the Forrest Gump of dolphins clueless as to why this was a strange encounter.

As we lifted our hands up out of the water, the dolphin would rise up to follow them. I marveled at its body, how large it was and how it appeared to stand up in the water to stay at the side of the boat.

And then without any thought, when it was distracted with following my hand, I reached around with my other hand and pet the back of its head!

 I thought Heidi was gonna die from shock over my spontaneous maneuver. And I liked that because I felt kind of clever for surprising her with my totally fearless woman side.

I may not be able to yank hooks out of baby fish, but dolphin fondling I can handle!

When the dolphin finally swam away, we whispered to each other, “God’s glory. We just got to witness God’s glory!”

I’m so glad I didn’t stay home today.


Yvette Schultz Bone is the mother of three amazing teenagers and has lived in Southwest Florida for the past 23 years. A passionate soul, she lives to discover the beauty God has placed around her in the natural world and in others. She considers no adventure greater than the one of diving deeply into the unchartered waters of the soul – her own and others – and hopes to spend the rest of her adult life learning as much about that as she can.