Charting interactions between dolphins and people
Irish Dolphins - Interactions between dolphins and people.  Including Fungie the Dingle Dolphin
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Fri, 12th July

Paddy Power writes from Dublin:

We arrived in Fanore at around 9.30pm on Friday evening 12th July. It was a beautiful evening with calm water. We booked in with Maud at Janesville B & B., got our wetsuits on and went straight down to the water.

We saw Dusty about 200 metres out. My son Ian had come with us to meet Dusty. After about five minutes the Queen appeared and she seemed very excited. She was swimming around very fast for a while, and then she calmed down. There were a lot of large Jellyfish in the water, so as it got dusky we moved in nearer the slip to avoid getting stung. Dusty stayed by the slip with us until dark. She enjoyed having her belly rubbed and would turn over to encourage us to rub some more.

On Saturday morning 8.30, I went swimming at the slip on my own. She came along a few minutes after I got in. Again she was in a very playful mood. She would swim around very fast for a while, then she would just lie in the water alongside me and be totally relaxed. Again I would stroke her pectoral area and she really seemed to enjoy this attention. Then she left for a short time and returned with a length of black cloth. I took this from her and began pulling it through the water. She would go down to 6 or 7 metres and I would pull the cloth though the water and as she came up to it, I would lift it out of the water and she would jump out of the water alongside me. We played this way for about ten to fifteen minutes.

At 9.30am Ian & Colin came to call me for breakfast. I stayed around the slip for a little while. Other people had arrived by this time. Some took pictures, and others interacted with her by rubbing her which she seemed to enjoy. As I sat on the slip, she opened her mouth a lot and made snapping gestures towards me. If I went back into the water she was happy but once I sat on the slip again she would push me and make the snapping gestures again. I left for breakfast.

Colin and Ian went to the water after breakfast while I went for a cycle to Ballyvaughan. I returned at around 1pm and Colin told me that he experienced the same snapping gestures if he sat on a rock in the water. The two boys had been to each of the coves with her. I got back into the water at around 3pm in the middle cove. There was about fifty people around and lots of people in the water. As I swam alongside her, I noticed that she was heaving. Then I saw that she was getting sick. I have never seen her doing this before and I wondered if she felt poorly. After this happened she left for about fifteen minutes, returned for two to three minutes and left again. We had to leave at this stage. While I was packing our gear into the car the two boys went down to the water and she was swimming around enjoying herself as usual.

Paddy Power

Editors' Note: Cetacean scientists state that jaw gapes and snapping gestures made by dolphins are an aggressive behaviour or warning signal and that people should leave the water immediately if a dolphin starts opening its mouth. This may be true, but we have seen this behaviour many times, with Dusty, Dony and even Fungie, and so far it has not been followed by any 'direct action'! We don't know what is does mean though - one idea is that a vocalisation that is out of our hearing range may be involved. Dony was also seen to vomit or regurgitate fish bones after a bout of jaw-opening

Date Posted: 12/07/2002
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