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Irish Dolphins - Interactions between dolphins and people.  Including Fungie the Dingle Dolphin
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Dony's travels

This is a dolphin born under a wandering star, if ever there was one! Right from the first reports, Dony appears to have been very keen on following boats and it has usually been fishing vessels which have led him from one temporary base to the next. Having arrived with one such boat from Carrigaholt in Co.Clare, Ireland, he stayed around Dunquin and the Blasket Islands, Co.Kerry, from the end of April 2001 until July 6th, with occasional visits to nearby Dingle and Baile na nGall.

In August 2001 the same dolphin re-appeared near La Rochelle on the French Atlantic coast, where he entertained swimmers on several beaches as well as approaching boats in harbours. He stayed in that area through September 2001.

During the winter of 2001/2002 he was in the Cherbourg-Channel Islands area off the north Normandy coast. By this time he had become known as 'Georges' or 'Randy'.

On 28th March 2002 Dony was first spotted near Weymouth, Dorset, England, where he was known as 'Flipper' for a while. He remained in the Weymouth-Portland area until 4th June. Dony then spent most of July in various South Devon locations, with a few excursions into Cornwall and a quick visit back to Weymouth before appearing in the Lyme Bay area in August. During August he was mostly around the Swanage/Bournemouth area before leaving via the Isle of Wight for Dieppe in northern France at the beginning of September!

Dony in the harbour of Dinteloord, Holland, 13/12/02 The dolphin stayed in the Dieppe/Le Havre area for most of the autumn, travelling quite a lot and even as far east as Dunkerque. For most of November 2002, however, he was settled in Boulogne, where he began to attract a lot of attention. At the beginning of December Dony decided to move on up the Belgian coast via Blankenberghe and Zeebrugge, before turning into the estuary inlet of the River Schelde. He was seen in Dutch waters near Terneuzen about the 6th December but continued upriver and crossed the Belgian border to arrive at the city of Antwerp, some 170km from the open sea! There Dony passed through locks on the east side of the river to get into the canalised docklands area of this Europe's 2nd biggest port. Here he chose the commercial dock of Delwaidedok and spent four or five of days there (where he was christened Leo), ignoring repeated attempts to lead him back to sea. He eventually left of his own accord via the canal which links the Schelde with the Rhine. This 40km long waterway took Dony through the North Brabant countryside to the much more expansive waters of the Rhine delta. Once there, he turned not towards the sea but inland again and came next to the freshwater yachting harbour of Dintelsas near Dinteloord, Holland, where he was first recorded on the 13th December. A truly extraordinary journey.
On 14th December 2002 Dony was successfully escorted from Dintelmond to the open sea by the Dutch coastguard, passing through two sea locks en route. However he soon re-appeared at the sea lock to the Oosterschelde inlet and passed in and out at will with fishing boats. On the 23rd he was spotted further south again in the Westerschelde and he spent Christmas 2002 back in Zeebrugge. After a last sighting there on the 28th December we had no reports of Dony until April 2003, when he reappeared in Brittany, N.W.France.

As playful and curious for human contact as ever, Dony continued to interact with swimmers, divers and boats in various locations along the French Atlantic coast during 2003, favouring the Finistere region of Brittany, particularly towards the end of the year which he spent in the company of another interactive dolphin known as Jean-Floc'h. This bond seemed to develop in the first half of 2005 when the two dolphin stayed mainly around the Cap Sizun area, spending a lot of time at one of two small fishing ports where they got into trouble with local fisherman for disturbing mooring ropes and similar tricks. In August 2005, Dony suddenly took off south and covered the 600km down to Biarritz on the Spanish border in an astonishing three days. He drew huge crowds there and caused great consternation amongst the authorities but soon left and explored the Aquitaine coastline on his way back to Finistere, where he spent another winter with Jean Floc'h. Through 2006 and 2007 the two dolphins seemed to be increasingly settling around the Ile de Sein area, where they were also frequently seen in the company of the resident pod.
Suddenly in September 2007, Dony appeared again off the south coast of England, this time at Eastbourne in Sussex, from where he moved rapidly west along the coastlines of Hampshire, Dorset, and Devon and began a thorough exploration of scenic Cornwall. After a month in English waters, he returned to Brittany.

We have split Dony's travels so far into five sections and you can view partial maps of these via the links below.

Map of Dony's travels from Ireland to France to England (April 2001 - March 2002)

Map of Dony's travels in South West England (April 2002 - Aug 2002)

Map of Dony's travels from England to France to Belgium to Holland (Sept 2002 - Dec 2002)

Map of Dony's travels in Brittany (April 2003 - )

Map of Dony's travels along the south coast of England (September 2007)

Check recent sightings locations here.

Anything to add or correct from your own personal observations? Mail us!
Date Posted: 17/12/2002
Date Edited: 25/01/2016

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