Monday 18th February
It was great to hear today from a new correspondent, Declan Costello, who was out surfing with Dusty at Spanish Point yesterday along with up to 15 others.
It was local surfers who first made contact with Dusty at Doolin back in 2000 and who she first befriended, long before swimmers, divers, kayakers and boaters arrived on the scene.
At this time of the year the sea off the Clare coast tends to be rough, cold and murky and there are few swimmers interested in braving the conditions (not me, anyway!). Surfers on the other hand are a hardy breed, and of course winter storms out in the Atlantic bring the best waves rolling in to the beaches.
Last week Dusty was reported in one of her less accessible haunts further round the rocky coastline. Sunday was actually sunny and calm despite the good surf coming in. Maybe Dusty knows that's a good time to check out Spanish Point for weekend surfers?!
"This was my first time seeing her", writes Declan. "My friend and I were surfing and got into the water at 4pm. She was surfing the waves and visiting all of the surfers who were out that day (about 15 people I think). She swam right under my board at one stage and brushed against my leg. It was a beautiful evening, clear skies, sunny, no wind whatsoever. She stayed there for hours and my friend and I were the last to leave the water as it got fully dark, but she was there with us right until the end bobbing in the water right beside us!"
I think that speaks for itself!
By the way, at irishdolphins.com we get a lot of stick from time to time for allegedly publicising Dusty's location and encouraging more people to come and see her. Actually we think it's great that new people are still coming to meet her, and we guess she's happy about that as well. It's certainly not up to us to decide who should and should not have this privilege. But in case you're wondering, by the time you read this there is no telling where she will be, maybe Spanish Point, maybe somewhere else, so if you want to go and meet her you'll have to take your chances just like anyone else!
Sometimes the most magical interactions come when you are just doing your thing and not necessarily expecting a dolphin to show up at all, like it happened to Declan and others on Sunday...
* We haven't yet been able to contact the person who took the photos on this page, which we borrowed from the fantastic surfers' website Magic Seaweed (which also has the best weather forecasts for Ireland). Please mail us if you are the photographer! *