23rd December 2002
After leaving the Haringvliet inlet (just south of Rotterdam, Holland) via the Stellendam lock on the 16th December, Dony re-appeared at another sea lock further south on the 20th December. The lock at Neeltje Jans is the only opening in the sea wall which guards the entrance to the Oosterschelde inlet. Both inlets were formerly parts of the southern Rhine delta but are now separated from the sea by dams. Fishing boats have to pass through locks to gain access to the North Sea, and it seems that during his travels in the Low Countries, Dony the dolphin has learnt to do the same. He now follow boats in and out when he wants to and appears to be equally at home in the freshwater basins and the open sea.
Today 23rd December Dony was spotted back in the Westerschelde near the town of Breskens (opposite Vlissingen).
The map shows the area of Dony's recent travels. He entered the area via the southernmost inlet, the Westerschelde and has since passed through numerous sea locks to visit all the other inlets, the Oosterschelde, Grevelingen and Haringvliet, as well as stopping off in the inland port of Antwerp and swimming through the two branches of the Rhine-Schelde canal.
This has to be the most amazing journey ever recorded by any dolphin in the world. Why is he doing it? One of our correspondents thought the answer was obvious: He is studying mankind - and where better to do this than in one of the most built-up and intensively managed parts of Europe that a dolphin can still gain access to?!
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