Editor’s note June 21st 2002. We recently received this report from Abigail Dillon who lives near Exeter, Devon. Abigail was in Dingle this time last year to swim with Fungie and was lucky enough to be on the spot for one of Dony’s visits to Dingle Harbour (see Dony – Interactions with other dolphins and Fungie – Interactions with other dolphins). We didn’t even know ourselves that Dony had been in Dingle on that evening until hearing from Abigail.
I'm pretty sure it was Monday the 2nd July 2001, between about 7pm and 9/9:30 pm. I was staying at Ballintaggart Campsite just by Slaidin, and so I was down on the beach as much as possible over the few days that I was there. My mum went out to Ventry (looking for a mobile home) on the Sunday evening, and left me down on the beach/rocks, 'Fungie-watching'. I didn't go swimming from the beach then, because I'd booked to go out with the boat the following morning, so I just went down to clamber and slide over the rocks so as to get as close to the water as possible with a pair of binoculars. Fungie was definitely on his own at this point, I saw him quite a few times, which I remember because I was kicking myself for not having taken a camera.
Anyway, the following morning (Monday) I went out for a 'dolphin swim', and I was not disappointed, he turned up and swam around for a while, so again he was definitely on his own. That afternoon I went out to view a mobile home mum was interested in, so I don't know what Fungie was up to at this point. When we got back to Ballintaggart (probably about 3pm), I went straight down to the beach and went swimming (without a wetsuit - never to be done again!) and got quite cold for just a couple of glimpses of Fungie! We then went back for a meal at the campsite, and then went back down to the beach at about 7/7:30pm, and I perched myself down on the rocks, not feeling too hopeful as Fungie hadn't been that lively earlier on.
I then nearly fell into the water with shock as Fungie (or so I thought) suddenly started doing more surfacing than usual, and he began to do repeated somersaults - bursting up out of the water, then diving down and completing a circle as he came back out of the water as he had done before. I had never, ever seen him do this before, and so naturally I thought it was my lucky day!! I watched for a minute, amazed at the speed at which he was doing this, and then I clambered back to the sheltered beach to get the binoculars from mum. I looked through them to find that Fungie was leaping around with another dolphin! As they carried on like this, I thought that Fungie had found a mate, I'd never seen him like this - so playful and happy! The friend he had was clearly much smaller than Fungie, and noticeably lighter in colour. I happily watched from the rocks at the edge of the water, as they played around for another hour or so - there was eventually only mum and I on the beach I think because it was quite a quiet time of day. I then waited until they quietened down and eventually Dony must have left to go back along the coast, because Fungie returned to his usual, elusive self, and by the time we went back to the campsite, he was just surfacing occasionally, which was more like the Fungie I was used to. I then naturally wanted to go out in the boat on Tuesday morning, but I hadn't booked, so instead I went down to the pier early in the morning to tell them of the evening before. The boatman I spoke to then shattered any illusions I had of Fungie's new-found 'mate', by explaining casually that another dolphin had been at Dunquin for a few weeks. I contented myself by going out to swim from the beach whilst the boat was still, but Fungie was once again on his own.
Contact Abi at :firstname.lastname@example.org