Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Dolphins Save Swimmers

While vacationing in Cancun, Mexico a few years back, I took advantage of an opportunity to swim with captive dolphins at Cancun's largest water park. The experience is one I'll never forget. Even before that enlightening experience, I had admired dolphins. Afterwards, I regard them as one of the most fantastic creatures sharing this planet with mankind.

There are many stories of dolphins assisting shipwreck victims and swimmers. This one was pulled straight from the headlines.

On October 30th, 2004, a group of New Zealand Lifesavers were swimming off of Ocean Beach near Whangarei on the North Island of New Zealand when they found themselves surrounded and being herded by dolphins.

One swimmer tried to drift away from the group, but found himself being herded back by the dolphins. Then he saw the reason. There was a nine-foot great white shark about six feet from where he was swimming.
The swimmers spent 40 minutes surrounded by the dolphins. They were then able to swim safely back to shore.

Dolphin researchers pointed out that dolphins attack sharks to protect themselves and their young. This friendly pod apparently decided that the human swimmers were in danger, and rushed to protect them.

If ever there was a story that made you want to buy only dolphin-safe tuna, this is one of them.

During my time in the water with the dolphins that I was blessed to swim with, I found myself feeling one of the most profound peaceful sensations. I don't attribute this to any magical or new age mythos concerning dolphins. I attribute it to being in contact with one of God's most intelligent and loving creatures.

There have been stories of dolphins attacking swimmers by ramming them with their snouts, but in all cases I've ever seen, the swimmers were doing something to harass the dolphins.

Be nice to the dolphins. Someday, they might just save your life. I'm sure those four New Zealand swimmers would agree.

***Editor's Note*** Here's your chance to save the dolphins - visit Oceana.org.