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DOLPHIN RESCUE

DOLPHIN RESCUE

DOLPHIN RESCUE

It was a very moving experience. We were in the water for well over two hours, supporting an injured and heavily pregnant bottlenose dolphin. Every few minutes, I could feel her contractions under my hands.

 

 

We had been camping and whale watching for a few days on a sand bar in the Pacific waters of Magdelena Bay, Baja, Mexico.

We were returning from a whale watching outing when we noticed something large and black on the nearby beach. We landed the boat at the beach and realized it was a pregnant  female  dolphin who, we think, had been attacked by cookie cutter sharks and had been out of the water for a long time.

She was in great distress. She had at least seven perfectly round bites all over her body. Once we got her back into the water, we held her suspended, her belly free of the sand and her blowhole unimpeded, to allow her to recover.

It took six of us to support her, as we had to keep her up off the sandy bottom and stop her from rolling to the side. It was difficult to keep a foothold in the sand and not get too deep in the water, as there was a massive current. We took turns and one of the Mexican guides used his phone to try to get help out to us.

It was quite a mix of people surrounding her…a photographer, an IT expert, two healers, an artist, a college graduate, the local guides and myself, the tour leader.  We didn’t talk much, just reminding each other to watch our footing and mind our backs. But everyone was communicating in murmurs and strokes with the dolphin, and as she began to recover a bit, she began communicating with us also. It reminded me of the noises Flipper the dolphin made on TV when I was a kid.

When she seemed stronger, we tried to push her out into deeper water. She tried to swim away but listed to one side and ended up circling back to the beach. We held her some more and tried again.

In the meantime, the guide thought a boat was coming to our aid, but it was diverted to a whale rescue. By now we were all tired and cold from being half submerged in the water.

Our group leader, Jim, arrived with extra clothes and water for us.

He showed us how to make slings for the dolphin out of life vests, which made it much easier to hold her and was probably more comfortable for her. We continued to hold her and to encourage her to swim away, but something was impeding her swimming, perhaps an internal injury or a damaged flipper.

I rang our friend Colin, a whale and dolphin expert, who was in Portugal, to see if there was anything else we could do. He didn’t think so.

Finally, the guides made the call that we would have to leave her to fend for herself.  Sorrowfully and tearfully, we whispered our good wishes to her and pushed her into deeper water one more time. She again circled back in, foundering in the shallows.

The guides continued to push her into deeper water, again and again. We forced ourselves to leave, and went back to camp almost wordlessly, sharing grief and acceptance as well. It haunted me for hours that we had maybe only prolonged her agony and that she would now have to go through it all again, alone on the beach.

So a few hours later, we hiked back to the beach and to our joy…no dolphin. She had at least managed to stay in the sea and perhaps even was able to birth her baby, even if she couldn’t recover herself. We will never know for sure but I choose to believe that is what happened, and that there was some kind of a happy ending.

We were surrounded by dolphins over the next few days when we were on the boat, members of her family perhaps, announcing a new member in their pod.

"One of the most magical experiences you can have anywhere in the world"

The Irish Times

Testimonials

Jim and Emily were great guides - both fun and patient - and they ensured we were stayed warm, safe, kept well informed, and were able to enjoy the experience to the maximum.

NewZealandMidWife , New Zealand

Kayaking the Irish Sea by moonlight on the summer solstice and watching the water light up beneath my fingertips was absolutely magical.

Taylor E, East Hartford, Connecticut

Great instructor (who gave us pointers for kayak purchase) great experience. 100%recommended for all levels of water confidence.

Stephen Duffy, Navan, Ireland

We spent 3 hours in the water and had a great time. Would definitely do this again.

Liam Springwell, Cork

Great fun day out for friends & families. Very safe for children and spectacular views on your trip. We really enjoyed it.

Conal Granite, Cork

What a lovely way to spend the morning. I joined a group for a kayaking trip on Lochyne, waterproofs were provided and basic tuition was given where needed.

Jill T, Cardiff, United Kingdom

An excellent instructor but also just a great guy to have chats and banter with. We all left with a massive grĂ¡ for Cork, for kayaking and for roll neck aran jumpers!

Katie G, Wexford, Ireland

We would highly recommend it to anyone. Jim was very helpful and friendly. We had never been kayaking before and he was a great instructor.

Justin D

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