Dolphins and More.

Trip Start Feb 01, 2005
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Trip End Dec 31, 2018


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Flag of Australia  , Western Australia,
Saturday, May 25, 2013

I was asked to write an article for the local newspaper ¨The Inscription Post¨ about the Dolphins and below is what I presented. Hope you enjoy.  

A RANGERS DOLPHIN EXPERIENCES 

Starting on a large wheatbelt farm, then working with Marine Life for four years in Coral Bay and finally travelling to a large number of the worlds iconic wildlife wilderness experiences, was a pretty good introduction to working with Monkey Mia's Dolphins, or so I thought.

As exciting as the above adventures were, I was to discover that none of it would compare to not working with the Dolphins of Monkey Mia, but practically being invited by the Dolphins to join their families. While visitors have the opportunity of joining in the experience of feeding the Dolphins, it is a fleeting window, as were our travels. However to be with the Dolphins on a daily basis, to know their names, their families, their moods and their individual personalities is truly astounding. I can assure you it is very different to know a lot about wildlife versus being known by wildlife.

Any one of the Rangers working out at Monkey Mia have their own personal accounts of exchanges with the Dolphins, however indulge me in sharing some of my personal favourite experiences while engaged in what I am told daily as being ¨the best job in the world¨.  

My first day in the water I was asked to distract Kiya, a then young 14yr old, pregnant, non provisioned Dolphin, unfortunately unbeknown to myself, Kiya has great aspirations to join her mum Puck and big sister Piccolo in the feeding programme. So here I was standing between Kiya and the Dolphins being fed, feeling a little self conscious about chatting to her, calling her a good girl and so on, when Kiya started to get a bit pushy. So I changed tack and told her ¨you are not getting any fish so behave¨, within seconds I had been rewarded with a severe strike. I was not sure if it was her rostrum or tail flute, however Kiya was gone and I was left with a bruised leg. So that was my first clue that these Dolphins have a pretty good handle on what we say, even if we are too dumb to understand them. This was not the end of the issue, next time down to the water I entered near Kiya and she promptly went to the other end of the crowd. If I changed sides so did she. This went on for over a week, when she finally decided the tiff was over. Next time down she swam up, parked herself with me for the entire interaction and we have not had a disagreement since. Kiya did however recently instigate a biting and verbal stoush with one of our older Dolphins, Surprise.

Also in the first few weeks, Piccolo our 20yr old Dolphin, decided to test me out by swimming between my legs. I was requested to not encourage the behaviour so changed my stance to ensure my legs were closed. This resulted in a fully grown, very determined Dolphin trying to force her way through and even though she nearly pushed me over I managed to hold my ground, stopping her from passing through. Piccolo has not tried to swim through again since, although she has stuck her head through a couple of times and given a very cheeky look.

Probably the most remarkable experience happened recently while giving the Dolphin presentation, with my back to the ocean and facing the crowd. Nicky and Kiya with a rostrum on each of my legs literally pushed me forward towards the beach. Kiya then put her mouth around my calf and let me feel her teeth. They then fell back and laughed or very loudly chatted to each other. I said to the crowd that I had no idea what that was about, until several of the crowd said a sea snake was behind me and the Dolphins had pushed me away. I guess Kiya’s message with the teeth was; move or you will get bitten. Mary who was working the beach with me and a long term Monkey Mia Ranger agreed she had not seen or heard anything like it before.

The icing on the cake was the privilege in November of being introduced, first by Kiya to her newborn calf Wirriya (Wideea) (her second calf however 1st survivor) and several days later by Nicky to her newborn Missel (her ninth calf yet only 2nd survivor). 

Well I hope this is a little bit of insight into the different personalities and sense of humour the Dolphins possess.     
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Comments

thefarabegolis
thefarabegolis on

A great read and fantastic experience for you! Good Luck in Cape Levique guys x

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