-Monday, January 14, 2013 – Fresh off a protest at the Japanese Consulate in Miami, needed to contact Ric O’Barry once again as it seems as I have forgotten to get a paperback book of “Behind the Dolphin Smile” autographed for our upcoming fundraising event on February 23, 2013 at the Ellie Schiller Homosassa Spring Park from 11:00am to 3pm. -4150 S Suncoast Blvd, Homosassa, FL 34446
Knowing how busy O’Barry is and that he was on his way back out on the dolphin trail. On our previous calls he had informed me that his stay in Miami would be until mid-January. Feeling very grateful of O’Barry once again dedicating his time to see me, being as gracious and helpful as he always is, he also made time to come and participate in Save the Blood Dolphins our third annual “Positive Change for Taiji” Event. O’Barry is always ready to help. When we informed him of our Oppa Gangnam dance, never in my wildest dreams did I think he would join us in this parody.
This man never stops bringing awareness to the plight of the captive dolphins. An email gets sent out “I forgot to get that book signed” is the subject line and what is a good time to meet? O’Barry responds rather quickly, “come by my house here is the address”. I look at the address and sure enough I know that area very well. Its right off Richard O’Barry Drive in South Miami. I respond back, on my way, see you in a few.
As I make the right turn on to the street, its actually a short “drive” its only 4 blocks long. You kinda wonder, 4 blocks long? Well that is sufficient for O’Barry, a very simple yet complicated man. Complicated because he feels responsible in showing the world how easy it was to train a dolphin. An action he committed many years ago in the past around the 60’s, he never thought it would haunt him for many decades into the future.
O’Barry never seems to really smile, his smile is the same as the dolphins smile. There is no smile on the dolphin. There is really no smile on O’Barry’s face yet you can see a gentle person who is willing to speak on and about dolphins and informs you and tells you all about the captive industry and the names of the key players. But lets continue the story.
Making my last turn at the end of Richard O’Barry Drive, I look for the address. Nestled in the middle of a concrete jungle is a little cottage, painted a sweet happy and bright yellow with a small white picket fence surrounding it. A small gate in front of the arch covered by a bougainvillaea with fuchsia blooms that reminds you and makes you feel you are at the beach yet the water is not as near by as you would think. South Miami is one of the oldest part of Miami, next to Coral Gables and Gables by the Sea. South Miami is also the home of another great activist that passed away in 1998. A great activist a woman by the name of Marjorie Stoneman Douglas. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marjory_Stoneman_Douglas
You continue to look up the steps to the door, on the last riser of the step there are hand-painted tiles saying “Welcome”. This wonderful 1930’s Miami home. All wood cottage. O’Barry’s car is in the driveway again an older model of a white Mercedes Benz.
A knock on the door brings a “just a minute” from the inside. As I wait for the door to open I look around and see many buildings, condos and yet here is this quaint little home built in the last century gently keeping all the wonderful memories of years of activism of this man.
The door opens and O’Barry greets me and welcomes me into his home and says wait a minute let me finish this. He goes back into his dining room. The home has an open concept, living room dining room, very tall wooden ceilings and great wooden floors. He stands on his dining room chair and grabs the hammer and gives a couple of whacks to a nail on the wall. He hangs an oil painting. He says look, that was the last dolphin released from captivity in Brazil. I walk over to see it. It is a beautiful oil painting. The signature on this art piece says Ric O’Barry. I stand in awe thinking, “Wow what a beautiful image to use as a “Code Blue”. You did that? I ask. That is amazing Ric, I look at the eye of the dolphin on the oil painting, he’s captured the essence of the soul of this dolphin.
He tells me here let me show you this book; I know you will appreciate it. He takes the sharpie and writes an inscription. “To Barbara, Love and Light, Ric O’Barry – 2013”. He states, look it’s already 2013, as if to say; when are we ever going to see the end of the captivity trade? When he hands me the book it’s a hardcover and I am amazed it is the Spanish version “Tras la sonrisa del Delfin”. He also says, “Tell Mila deMier I know she will also appreciate this. He hand me another book to give to Mila. It’s a small token of my appreciation for her help at the NOAA hearings and tell her I am on my way to Almeria later on to visit Marcos. Maybe we will meet there”.
He then takes me on a small tour of his house we pass by the country-tropical style kitchen, it made me feel like I was in the islands. The appliances were not your latest gadget ridden appliances. It was a very homey type of kitchen. We walk down a few steps passed the tall Bamboos, reminded me of my previous home in Florida City. There were orchids on them; Oncidiums, Phalaenopsis a small little jungle in the middle of the city. We proceed to an addition in the back it’s a quaint little office with French doors, windows on every wall to let the natural light in. There is a long shelf that goes around the office and it has some more dolphin and whales items, his computer sits on the south wall and there is a sofa bed for those out of town guests. He tells me here is where I do most of my work. He proceeds to turn on the wall air condition unit, the Florida sun was already starting to warm the office.
If you think that O’Barry lives his life in the lap of luxury, think again. There is no opulence here but there is a lot of love for the kind of work that O’Barry does on a daily basis. All donations go to his foundation, they are used for his travel and to help small non-profits like Promar https://www.facebook.com/pages/Promar/238079961481?ref=ts&fref=ts save wild dolphins like “Marcos”, build sea pens for dolphins held in traveling circuses in Indonesia. These sea pens are still empty and O’Barry awaits the release and for him to start the rehabilitation.
You can see it in every corner of this small wooden cottage. Its full of love of the dolphins and the passion he has to speak to anyone that will listen to his message. As we say our “see you later,” we, my husband and I tell him have a safe trip, bon voyage, he also states back,” safe travels to you as well.”
We know we will meet again on the Dolphin Trail.
Please help Richard O’Barry spread awareness to the slaughter of the dolphins in Taiji.
Take the pledge, do not buy a ticket, do not visit an aquarium. Captivity is not education. www.DolphinProject.org
For the Dolphins.
Please note: Out of respect of our friendship and his privacy, there are no images or photos taken inside or outside his home.