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The following are more stories of wild solitary dolphins around the world from the excellent book " Encounters with Whales and Dolphins" by Wade Doak. These stories again strongly highlight the need for humans to respect that dolphins are wild animals requiring protection.

In the history of lone dolphins approaching human settlement one thing is clear - it can be highly dangerous for the dolphin.

"Man's obsessive desire to conquer and possess all will ultimately be his downfall"


A wild dolphin

In 1976 off Eyemouth in Scotland scuba divers started meeting a large female bottlenose nicknamed Charlie. Prior to this in 1960 this dolphin had lived off the coastline of the Firth of Forth near Edinburgh. She would escort all the boats, and always joined in the fun when scuba divers were in the area. During the winter months Charlie disappeared perhaps rejoining a pod.


wild dolphin

Sandy was a friendly juvenile spotted dolphin who interacted with scuba divers at San Salvador Island, which is part of the Bahamas chain of islands, from 1976. Gradually sandy became bolder and eventually in 1977 allowed contact. During his very friendly stage of about 10 months he became quite famous and in all some 2500 divers met him. He would nudge people for attention and open his mouth and hold people by the snorkel or facemask until they renewed their attentions. He was said to be quite mischievous and invented many games. He would remove people's face masks when they weren't looking at him, pull people's hair or tap their head with his rostrum. A particular favourite of his was Chris Adair who could free dive to 35 metres. One day Chris was freediving with Sandy and Sandy pointed with his beak to the reef below. He had found Chris's cross he had been wearing till it broke off its chain. Sandy had prominent scars, and shortly before he disappeared was caught in the propellor. He was last seen healed in 1978, while a research boat was in the area. It was not known if he had simply rejoined his kind or been taken by a collector.


wild dolphin

Dobbie was a young male bottlenose who interacted with humans around Eilat in 1979. He would playfully bite at scuba exhaust bubbles and imitate diver's movements, but always stayed out of reach of touching. Sadly, some months later he was found dead, killed by gunshots.

wild dolphin

The Costa Rican

After his companion was shot, a three-metre male bottlenose began interacting with humans at Chira Island, Costa Rico. Initially he would play with a local dog, but later would play with a variety of objects and often pushed around a small canoe. In 1983 a local fisherman found the dolphin entangled in his net, calmly waiting to be released. Instead the fisherman killed him, and took his carcas back to the horrified villagers. The story goes that this fisherman was struck dead by lightning, a week later.


wild dusky dolphin In 1984 A young male dusky dolphin appeared in the Tamaki Estuary in the heart of Auckland, much farther north than duskies usually inhabit. This little dusky quickly endeared itself to the hearts of the locals who watched out for its safety. Tammy would stay mostly around a certain moored boat, and astounded onlookers by his marvellous leaps. Duskies are reknown for their leaping acrobats. In one sequence it was recorded Tammy made 48 tail stand leaps consecutively. Typical leaps would include five sideways leaps, followed by two spinning leaps, then a double somersault. Tammy quickly became a local favourite and would play with floating logs, seaweed,and boxes. It is thought that later Tammy simply returned to the open sea, and probably cooler waters. Thankfully he was able to live in a heavily built up area for several months without being harmed in any way. In fact, locals made sure boat races were cancelled in order to protect him, after authorities failed to intervene.

Current lone sociable dolphins

Since November 1997 a lone sociable dolphin has been living in the local estuarine waters of Sao Vicente County of Brazil. This dolphin is a juvenile marine tucuxi, who easily approaches anyone who gets into the water with it. Local people believe that the dolphin's mother was killed by a fisherman. There are many concerns that this dolphin's safety is at risk from overzealous swimmers and controls are being put into place to ensure it is not harmed.

Another dolphin named Filippo has been observed in the Gulf of Manfredonia SE Italy for several years, and since May 1998 has started to interact with swimmers. This male dolphin, approx. 2.5 m, will interact with humans, but may bite arms or feet causing minor wounds. As there are concerns Filippo may be harmed or cause harm to humans, locals and researchers are monitoring interactions as closly as possible. NEWS FLASH Dolphin Saves Boy From Drowning MANFREDONIA, Italy (Reuters) - A dolphin saved a 14-year-old boy from drowning in the Adriatic sea, pushing him to the surface and helping him to a nearby boat. The boy, who could not swim, told Italian news agency ANSA he fell from the boat as he was sailing with his father in the gulf of Manfredonia, off the southern Italian coast. As he was slipping under the water, something pushed him up. ``When I realized it was Filippo, I hung on to him,'' The mammal carried the boy to the boat and swam away. The dolphin has lived in the gulf's waters for years, locals say, and has been dubbed "Filippo".

Olene In Egypt's Red Sea a special spotted dolphin named Olin was rescued from entrapment (and certain death) from a net 10m below the water by Abid'allah, a deaf mute Bedouin fisherman After her rescue, Olin continued to recognise her saviour and began swimming with him, eventually following him back to the waters off his village. Olin has now become famous for this unique trust and is visited by marine scientists from around the world. Olin liked to play games. She would pick up a sea cucumber or a shell and throw it like a ball, then dive to catch it before it hits the sand. Olene She teased small flat fish, like a cat with a mouse, before swallowing them up for a snack.Olin's first two known calves unfortunately died, the second calf being born on 18th December 1998, named Ramadan. Happily, Olin gave birth to a baby daughter on October 1st 2000. Her name is Mapsutta "Happy" and in 2004 she was three years old. Olin's fourth known calf born in 2004 unfortunately died at 7 weeks. Sadly Olin was found dead on a beach north of Nuweiba on Friday 9th December 2004, it is not exactly clear what caused her death, though photo identification confirmed that the dolphin found was definitely her.

Read about Olin in this book by author Pascale Noa Bercovitch.
Many thanks to Ruth of Wild and Free dolphin trips for the copyright picture of Abidallah swimming with Olin.

Currently Ireland seems to have a wealth of lone friendly dolphins, and their stories are recorded in an amazingly detailed site here where you'll read all the latest news. Dusty - A young, female dolphin first interacted with people in Doolin, Co. Clare Ireland in the summer of 2000. In 2001 she moved up the coast to Fanore, Co. Clare, later moving to her current home near Milltown Malbay to interact very closely with swimmers. The website is a must read for followers of friendly solitary dolphins. The website is full of fascinating interactions between this delightful dolphin and the lucky people who have had the chance to meet her. They describe Dusty to be maybe 5-6 yrs (in 2000), about 7’ (2.15m) long, with few scars. Many of her antics are detailed including "Dusty was immediately interested in objects such as cameras and surfboards and was particularly keen on fins. She would mouth these gently and was totally fascinated with monofins (large triangular fins which you put both feet into and which imitate a dolphin’s tail). She remained glued to these even when the wearer was sitting on the rocks with just the fin in the water.

Another friendly solitary dolphin in Ireland is Dony. This male bottlenose dolphin arrived on the Dingle Peninsula, Co. Kerry in May 2001. He moved between Dingle, Dunquin, the Blasket Islands and Ballydavid. Dony then travelled great distances from waters off Ireland to France and along the south coast of England. Then back to France, visiting Belgium, and Holland as well! Now after having spent most of March through to July 2003 travelling around Brittany it looks as though Dony is on the move again...Im sure anyone who has met this dolphin is hoping he will revisit their part of the world. This is one dolphin with a very full passport! Maps prepared by of this dolphin's incredible travels can be viewed here . Dony is described by the authors of the website as "an Atlantic bottlenose dolphin, certainly much smaller than ‘Fungie’ or ‘Freddie’ perhaps 7’6” long. His body is heavily scarred, featuring many tooth-rake marks, parasite marks, propellor scars and what look like net-marks (on both sides of torso, behind the eyes). His peduncle and the leading edge of his dorsal fin are white with scarring and the trailing edge of his dorsal fin is tattered. His tail fluke is not in great shape either, with a conspicuous bit missing out of the right hand side. With swimmers, the dolphin was sometimes ‘mellow’ and would lie still to be stroked, while on other occasions he was described as ‘frisky’, ‘snappy’ or ‘pushy’. Many people were unnerved by his habit of showing and snapping his teeth and on a couple of occasions he mouthed peoples’ arms as well as their fins and slightly scratched them. When opening his mouth towards snorkellers he would often emit a sort of screeching sound." Interestingly, Dony had been observing interacting with Ireland's most famous dolphin, Funghie on several occasions.

solitary dolphin

Why were these dolphins living a solitary life?

Dolphins are normally very sociable with their own kind, living happily in pods and very cautious of people, fleeing if humans get too close, or enter the water. Many people have put forward theories about the above strictly solitary dolphins. Were they old and couldnt keep up with the pod, or maybe outcasts? In Opo's case, her mother may have been killed, leaving her without a pod. This may be true of many of the solitary dolphins mentioned. A dolphin that is separated at a very young age from its mother may not have learnt essential dolphin socialising skills, or have a pod to be accepted into and so lives alone, until the human contact begins. In Adelaide South Australia, a very young calf named Jock spent several years very closely interacting with humans only, living alone in an isolated inshore area. However once the dolphin was led out to the ocean to other dolphin pods, and began to form relationships with other dolphins, the interaction with humans significantly reduced. Sadly this dolphin was found dead, breaking the hearts of his human friends only weeks after it had intergrated into the dolphin population, from accumulated poisons in its body. The river he lived in was found to have high levels of toxicity from heavy industry polluting it for years. In Freddie's case, a female dolphin was found dead when Freddie arrived, perhaps his mate. Some people speculate that Jo-Jo may actually be a former captive dolphin ( possibly either "Liberty" or "Florida") released in the Bahamas in the 1970s, after readaption to living in the wild again. This has never been proven however. Nearly all the famous solitary dolphins recorded were bottlenose, with a few exceptions only. This is most probably because bottlenose often frequent inshore areas, where-as other dolphin species live much further out in the ocean far from humans.

Encounters with whales


In February 1985 a young beluga appeared in the waters of Long Island Sound near New York city, far from its usual home of artic waters. It was quickly nicknamed BW. BW would swim around boats and visited popular beaches, eventually even pushing around inflateables with humans inside. However sadly in May of that year a dead juvenile female beluga was found dead presumably BW, with three bullet wounds in its body. There was a huge protest from local residents and worldwide media coverage of a major reward to find those that killed the beloved BW. Again in 1980, another friendly beluga visited Long Island, much to the delight of the locals. Bella as this beluga was nicknamed disappeared after attempts to capture it by aquarium owners. Recently there have been reports of solitary belugas allowing interaction with humans in canadian waters.

The amazing gray whales of Baja

Amazing whale encounters(C)Photo TAI Chestnut Hill

Each winter, thousands of gray whales migrate to the lagoons and bays of Baja California to breed, calve and nurture their young. Bahia Magdalena is one of the best places along Baja's Pacific coast to see the gray whales. In recent years, there has been an increase in "friendly" whale behavior in the lagoons, with curious whales coming very close to boats and humans, even allowing stroking by humans. A visitor recalls "Each time we took to the water, we were surrounded by whales of every size and age--spouting, sleeping, mating and spying on the humans. One by one, the friendlies would come close to be touched and stroked. Patiently, by example, mothers taught shy newborns to come directly to our outstretched hands. Other older calves sometimes outswam their mothers to reach us. One of the friendlies actually picked up our wooden boat and carried us for a bit on her back. Another whale pushed her head under the prow of a nearby boat and slowly twirled it in circles. We seem to have crossed a frontier with another species, another world. And, remarkably, the contact was initiated not by us, but by the whales". As these encounters are so amazing it is imperative that the welfare of the whales and their young always be held in uppermost importance and that interaction be left to their choice. Particularly as the area is the whales main calving grounds. Thankfully, laws have been passed to prevent people chasing the whales, and you must wait for the whale to come to you. Contact with the whales is governed by strict rules. With few exceptions, local fisherman are the only ones the Mexican government allows to put boats on the lagoon. Many of them serve as guides during the winter whale season. Special areas in the northern half of the lagoon are off-limits to all except the whales and their calves. Rules are enforced by onshore government observers with high-powered telescopes - and by the fishermen. Visit the links below for more details about these amazing whales and more stories of actual encounters.

Protecting wild dolphins & whales

A wild dolphin

In the USA dolphins and whales are protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act, and other countries around the world would have similar laws. Dolphins and other marine mammals such as whales, seals and sea lions have been protected since 1972 by the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Feeding (and even swimming with) any wild marine mammal is considered to be a "take" and "harassment" under the MMPA and is prohibited by law. In the USA there are fines of up to a maximum $20,000 and 1 year in jail under this act for harming a marine animal.


Please take a minute and read about the proper conduct around wild dolphins .


Wild leaping dolphin

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For homework questions on dolphins find out the answers here .

Would you like to swim with dolphins? Here's where!!!

Recommended links

Back to Page 1 to continue on the dolphin web ring to other dolphin pages

Visit my other dolphin pages for more dolphin pictures and info

Very comprehensive up to date site on the friendly solitary dolphins in Ireland

To visit Fungie and Dingle (at least in cyberspace if not in person)
visit the Dingle Peninsula Tourism page.

To see pictures and learn more about much loved friendly dolphin "Freddie"
click here

Please visit Horace Dobbs page & International Dolphin Watch and perhaps become a member!

International Dolphin Watch's second site Find out more about IDW and how you can participate

The Jo-Jo Dolphin Project. Read about how Jo-Jo is being protected in his beautiful home of Turks and Caicos.

A friendly wild dolphin in Norway Meeting Flipper in Norway.

The Virtual Dolphin Project : A Modern Approach to Dolphin Facilitated Therapy For Children Suffering With Life-Threatening Illnesses & Developmental Disabilities. Please visit their homepage and its dedicated team. They are lovely people with big hearts.

Welcome to "PodMates", The Virtual Dolphin's Mailing List. Podmates, a sub-division of The Virtual Dolphin Project, is a mailing list dedicated to children and issues relating to children, but also open to anyone who wishes to join.

Pita in Belize Recollections of meeting Pita

Trips to meet Olin in the Red Sea Eygpt Wild and Free

Meeting the Baja friendly grey whales Great trips and amazing pictures from TAI Chestnut Hill

The Baja friendly whales Recollections of meeting these amazing whales

Click here to send your friends a gorgeous dolphin postcard

Beautiful dolphin art by Royce B. McClure

The dolphin planet - Nice dolphin site

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Copyright (C) 2000 S. Kirby. You may download my own dolphin photos for your own desktop,print them out to view,or use them in school projects. Sorry,you may NOT use any of the photos commercially, or on another web page other than my dolphin pic mentioned above. Sally Kirby.

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