Charting interactions between dolphins and people
Irish Dolphins - Interactions between dolphins and people.  Including Fungie the Dingle Dolphin
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Friday 11th January

Signature jump Read and respond. Note the subtle changes in his movements, the body language, where he is in the bay. Is he surfacing regularly or keeping a low profile upon witnessing the gaggle of swimmers meander their way to the beach. Has he the head down of a man at work, or the roving eye of a gigolo on the prowl. Is it the sea trout that occasionally can be seen jumping that he has his sonar locked onto.Skitting along close to the rocks the sea trout must pass through the bottleneck of the harbours mouth, run the gauntlet of the reef, Fungies prime fishing spot. Or are the spring salmon running early this year, taking him out into the deeper water of Dingle Bay, cruising in the shadow of the majestic cliffs at Beenbawn. Looking for the signs and applying a little strategy is all part of the fun, waiting for the right moment to launch into the game crucial. Knowing when to break a routine that may otherwise become stale as well. It’s a constantly changing formula that as a swimmer you only have a few meagre elements to, and no control over that’s for sure. But whatever the manifestation there’s always some good in it, always a buzz. There’s no dolphin quite like Fungie, that’s the appeal and attraction of it for me. The magic and mystery that keeps me swimming.
We saw a lot more of him today than we have of recent, he came over three or four times. He makes me laugh, he’s done a big jump over me every swim this week, just the one when we first engage. It’s been the only one of the swim each time, Fungies signature jump. A bit of zigzagging then and lots of spins with everyone, a more sociable dolphin altogether. The demeanour is still mellower though on the whole and his target swimmers change with that. Not wanting to commit to the jumps he’ll favour someone else over me if we are pitted against him in a charge. It’s fascinating to witness and all part of the big picture. One autumn just as he was coming into form he was like that. He’d spin with everyone in the water bar me, it was hilarious. ‘Til one day when he was really up for it and then he went ballistic. We are all pieces in the puzzle, the big mystery of this wacky world.
There’s a storm forecast for tomorrow, Saturday; now that could be exciting. When the sea comes to life after a period of dormancy it can kick start the action again, up the ante.
Nick Massett

Water time – 45 mins
Fungie time – 15/20 mins
Swimmers – Vinnie,OJ, Louise and Nick
Date Posted: 11/01/2002
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