Playing with dolphins from deck of boat reminds us the value of Indian River Lagoon, tourism

July 9, 2018 12:42 pm by boldwater in Indian River Tours

By Bob Gabordi, FLORIDA TODAY Published 6:56 a.m. ET July 9, 2018 | Updated 8:07 a.m. ET July 9, 2018

As the Good Natured River Tours boat ran southward on the Indian River Lagoon on Saturday afternoon, a pair of playful dolphins raced through the wake to keep up.

One of the playful dolphins who followed our Good Natured

One of the playful dolphins who followed our Good Natured River Tours boat from about the Pineda Causeway to the southern tip of Merritt Island Saturday. (Photo: FAZAL KHALIQ/FLORIDA TODAY)

For nearly the entire length between the Pineda Causeway and the southern tip of Merritt Island, they jumped through the water, at times turning on their sides to get a good look at the people on the boat.

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Capt. Bill Reynolds, who, along with his wife Kelley and son Billy, operate the tour boat off a dock near Grills Riverside, 6075 N. U.S. 1, Melbourne, was enthusiastic in describing what we were witnessing.

“Dolphins going the full length only happens once, maybe twice, per year,” he said into the boat sound system. They run the tour boat twice daily, six days per week.

For Kelley Reynolds, who describes herself as the “deckhand” even though she seemed to exercise much more authority on board, scenes like this are a clarion call to action.

“You can’t be out here on the river and not feel we need to do better, to take care of it,” she said.

Over the course of two hours, the Reynolds family talked a lot  about taking care of the lagoon. Looking into the big eyes of our dolphin friends – they seemed to almost smile at us and happily wave their tails – you knew exactly what the tour boat operators were talking about.

We all need to do our part to help. This is the dolphins’ home, and we’re messy and often rude guests.

You can help us change that. On Saturday, July 14, FLORIDA TODAY and Keep Brevard Beautiful will team up for the fourth of our five award-winning Summer Series cleanup events that have helped us take more than 15 tons of junk out of the lagoon. This one is extra special to me and my family because it coincides with the annual Jessica and Bob Gabordi Birthday Walk and canned-food drive.

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We’ll meet at 7:30 a.m. at Goode Park, 1300 Bianca Drive NE, Palm Bay, for a 2-mile walk before the cleanup begins. My daughter Jessica and I share a birthday with my late father and this is our way of giving back to the community and honoring my dad’s memory.

This is the third year of the walk. We ask everyone to bring a bag of nonperishable food items, which we donate to the Ascension Social Concerns Food Pantry.

Afterward, we’ll head over to Hell n’ Blazes, 1002 E. New Haven Ave., Melbourne, for a post cleanup party, with food donated by nearby Meg O’Malley’s.

If you plan to join us, please RSVP to KBB event coordinator Sarah Hall at 321-631-0501, ext. 210. More information is available on the Keep Brevard Beautiful website at

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