This is an account of a dolphin rescue that took place
in Charlotteville, Tobago, W.I. - Tuesday 15th Feb. 2000
To say it was memorable would be putting it mildly .....
Yesterday was an exceptional day for many, around 1 p.m. both dive stores in the village - Man Friday Diving and Ron's Watersports & Dive Center, decided to go out earlier than usual, around 1p.m. instead of 2p.m...... it just so happened that a small group (6-10) young Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphins were making their way to the shore, they swam ever so slowly, just breaking the surface arching the fin above the water in the usual manner.
It all seemed to happen in slow motion, the divers all realized that this might be an opportunity to swim with the dolphins and many, rather all got into the water. The dolphins were oblivious to our presence, and they continued weaving a path to the shore. This behavior was very abnormal and I quickly put myself between the group and the shore which they were very close to by now, and blocked them, but they pushed and poked their way through; by this time everyone began to realize what was happening and they all followed suit, gently pushing, holding and nudging the dolphins back to the sea, two of the bigger ones actually beached themselves and we had to quickly lift them and put them back in the water, needless to say the entire village seemed to be lining the shores by now.
The others continued to try to beach themselves, but we obviously did not let them, many taking the opportunity to pet the dolphins and hug them and try to get them to change direction, what a moment for many, it was the first time so close to these magnificent creatures, and we were doing something good for them. Underwater one could hear the dolphins communicating, they emitted sounds that sounded like a crying type, a distinct note of sadness punctuated the cries unlike the happier chirping sound that I have heard before.
Fortunately the divers were there, in the water and we managed to get the dolphins pointed out to sea and heading out, the dives were all over an hour late in going out but of course no one seemed to mind ....they moved slowly out to the fishing boats, the divers swimming with them, almost on top of at times the dolphins, the two babies in the group actually seemed to start playing again, leaping a little higher than the times when they approached the shore.
I took my boat and planned to use it to lead the dolphins out, Bjarne's great strategy...it worked, they like to play in the wake and have done so many times at sea, I put the boat on the side of them and used one engine to move the boat, and the other in neutral just "revving" the engine for a fast sound, they took the bait .... moved to follow the boat, and soon they were leaping behind and actually following us, we all felt a feeling unlike any before I am sure, we had saved the dolphins, as we did this I kept thinking of the whales at Mayaro, luckily it ended better. What a day !
The divers met for dinner last night and I guess you can figure what the conversation centered around :-)
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