Charting interactions between dolphins and people
Irish Dolphins - Interactions between dolphins and people.  Including Fungie the Dingle Dolphin
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Mon, 5th August

On Monday morning we arrived at Dereen shortly after 8am.Two other men arrived at the same time. While we were getting ready we could see from the road that the Queen of Dereen was already in the cove and waiting to greet us. She was very calm and swam around us for about 30 minutes making contact and allowing us to interact with her by petting her. Then she left. I figured that she must be playing host at Poul na Baid, so I decided that I would swim there. As I was about half way there she appeared. This time however she was no longer in her relaxed mood but all excited. She swam really fast around me, jumping out of the water an then speeding off in the direction of Poul na Baid. I felt she was excited about me going to her favourite place and wanted me to follow her. Alas, I am not a fast swimmer, so she had to come back to me a good number of times to keep me company. She stayed with me in the this lovely sandy cove for ten to fifteen minutes and she returned to the middle cove. As I was swimming back to the middle cove, admiring the beautiful underwater scenery on my way, she appeared again. This time she did not stop. She had some more new visitors to entertain at the sandy cove, and she did not want to keep them waiting too long.

I returned to the middle cove. By now there was a lot of people in the water. I met with Graine who like Ute also comes from Germany. She and her husband have come to Ireland on holidays especially to meet Dusty. The enjoyment that this dolphin brings to people is indescribable. I think that there should be a car park provided to keep the cars off the road and a person should be present at the busy times to advise people how they can interact with her.

Unfortunately some people get even more exited than the dolphin and swim through the water chasing after her, and not showing any respect for Dusty or other people in the water. Last year I saw a man following her around in this manner. Dusty however after putting up with his behaviour for some time decided she had enough. She stopped alongside him and when he went to catch her, she lifted herself out of the water about three feet and came down on top of him and pushed him under. As he came to the surface again, she turned and slapped her tail in the water alongside him. He got some fright. He got out of the water fast. As gentle as Dusty is, people must remember that this is a wild and powerful animal. I believe that she would never intentionally harm anybody. But we must respect her and allow her to be free.

As we prepared to leave Dereen, we witnessed a wonderful sight from the road. A local fisherman in his boat was checking his lobster pots. He was coming from the Fanore direction. When Dusty heard the sound of the engine, she set off to meet him. As she swam through the water, she began jumping into the air each time she came up to breath. Usually as she swims she just breaks the top of the water. However this time, each time she came up, she would jump fifteen feet into the air and cover thirty feet before she enter the water again. It was wonderful to watch and rounded off a lovely weekend.

Paddy Power
Date Posted: 05/08/2002
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