Gut Rumbles
 

March 06, 2005

they should know better

I'm sorry. I like "flipper" as well as the next guy and I've had dolphins swim close enough to me in the water that I was able to grab a handfull of dorsal fin and take a nice ride. I've also watched them hunt fish in teams.

Have you ever watched them do that in a salt water creek? Four or five of them will get together in a school of mullet or shiners and then swim together to make a wave that washes all the little fishies up on the bank. After that, they idle there and eat the little fishies when they flop back toward the water. It's a damned effective fishing operation.

Those fuckers have scared the shit out of me before. I was trying to don a pair of water skis in the Wilmington River one day, when somebody on the boat shouted "SHARK!!!" I looked around and saw this HUGE creature swimming right next to me and showing that dorsal fin above the water. I almost put on my Jesus shoes and ran across the water back to the boat, leaving a trail of bodily fluids behind me.

But it wasn't a shark. It was a dolphin, along with about four friends, just curious about what I was doing in their domain. Those critters do everything but sniff you like a dog when you're in the water with them. I got bumped and thumped and blow-hole drenched until I managed to get the skis on my feet. I yelled "GO!" and made that round-and-round motion with my hand that told the boat driver to hit the throttle.

I took off and watched those crazy bastards chase me all the way down the river. No... "chase" is the wrong word, because they could swim a lot faster than I was going. They were PLAYING with me, and they almost dumped me more than once. I was probably doing about 30 to 40 MPH at the time, and those beautiful creatures didn't even have to try hard to keep up.

They liked to hem me in on both sides, then have one of their buddies surface right in front of me. If I dodged HIM, they set up another plan of attack and came after me again. I really believe that they knew what water skis were and they were trying to give me a nice spill. Kinda like playing a video game for them.

I managed to stay on the skis and they got bored with the game after about 15 minutes. They swam off to amuse themselves doing something else. But that was a hoot of an experience. I've never "Danced With Wolves."

But I HAVE swum with dolphins.

Comments

It's a hell of a thing to look a dolphin in the eye. They make me feel stupid.

Posted by: Velociman on March 6, 2005 09:10 AM

There's a dolphin show every afternoon around the pier in front of my house . Usually 6-7, but some days 10-15. They are beautiful and extremely intelligent. Last Friday a mother and baby came up to the shoreline to search for food. My son rushed to a local fish market to get a bucket of fish for them. He enjoyed the interlude as much as they did!

Posted by: Indigo on March 6, 2005 09:35 AM

Damn, that is cool!

Posted by: zonker on March 6, 2005 11:11 AM

Rob, you have lived one hell of an interesting life!

Posted by: delftsman3 on March 6, 2005 01:07 PM

A dolphin trainer once pointed out that there is no record of a dolphin ever deliberately harming a human. However, this might just mean that they're careful enough to only do it when they know they can get away with it.

Dolphins OWN the sea, and they know it. They're the only creatures on Earth (other than humans) that'll go out of their way to hunt sharks. They were playing nice with you.

Posted by: John Stephens on March 6, 2005 05:36 PM
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