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Irish Dolphins - Interactions between dolphins and people.  Including Fungie the Dingle Dolphin
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Sunday 30th June

After seeing Dusty the first time in October 2001, South African born Elsa Moolman returned to Fanore on 29th June with her husband Jean-Pierre.

Off we went, with our thin, southern hemisphere wetsuits, dreading the wind and the cold Atlantic water....what a shock! We weren't cold at all, who can be cold if you are tossing and cuddling with a dolphin! We stayed in the water for over 2 hours and it wasn't the cold that made us get out but the exhaustion of being entertained non-stop by Dusty. On the photo you can see me hanging onto her, catching my breath!
As described on the website, she doesn't pick favorites.. at times we were six people in the water and she would make turns swimming around us giving everyone the opportunity to interact with her.

Once she just hovered, allowing us to scratch her back. Jean-Pierre went up to her, put his arms around her and gave her a hug, she seemed to enjoy the pressure and they stayed embraced, her head resting on his shoulder and her eyes closed, it must have been the most beautiful picture I've seen in my life! Unfortunately the camera was back on the rocks!
While swimming around, JP gathered some of the plastic bags floating in the water, we don't know if she saw this but a couple of minutes later she came swimming to him with a plastic bag in her mouth....was this coincidence?

On the other photo you can see me catching a ride, holding onto her back. Once I was slipping off and grabbed onto her dorsal fin, big no, no! She turned her head in my direction and opened her mouth as if to say, 'Please, don't do that again'. So I adjusted my grip, placing my hands on her back and swimming on top of her, trying to keep up, which is fairly impossible without fins.
She also played hide and seek with us, lying in the shallow water covered by seaweed between the rocks. If we swam down, 'looking' for her, she would dash out, swim away and then go into hiding again.

Two days later I am still somewhere between the ocean and cloud 9!

A dream has come true for me with a huge realisation that this animal should be treasured, loved and above all respected for her sweet temperament, fun filled entertainment and allowing us mere humans to interact with something so free, wild and honest.


Editorís note. We donít really recommend hanging on to the dolphinÖ but we have all done it at times! Dusty really does seem to invite this kind of contact at times, BUT please make sure that this is really what is happening. If she wants you to stroke or hug her she will make it very easy for you by resting motionless in the water or leaning against you. Please donít chase after or try to grab hold of her otherwise; itís disrespectful, it looks horrible and it gives dolphin swimmers a bad name! Be patient and your turn for a really intimate encounter will come soon enough!
Date Posted: 03/07/2002
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