(By Monica Lynn, “The Fairy Podmother”) One of the highlights of spending time on the water is seeing our athletic dolphins in action. There are a few things to keep in mind, however, to ensure the well-being of our pod.
Be a Pod Protector:
1. Don’t feed or touch dolphins.
2. Don’t drive directly toward or over dolphins.
3. Don’t circle or surround dolphins.
4. Don’t encourage dolphins to jump in your vessel’s wake.
5. Don’t lure dolphins to you with sound(clapping, whistling, or tapping your vessel).
No one likes a list of prohibitions, but let’s turn this around and look for the love behind these laws.
By refusing to feed, touch, or lure dolphins to us with sound we are allowing them to engage in their own natural behavior, rather than attempting to tame them. These are intelligent, sentient beings with an agenda of their own. Love means respecting their autonomy.
Dolphins hunt by circling their prey. Is it loving to make dolphins feel hunted by circling them with jet skis or any other vessel? Of course not. Mothers with their calves in tow feel particularly distressed when surrounded.
There is no doubt that dolphins like to jump in the wake of boats. The reality, however, is that it’s dangerous for them and that’s why it’s illegal to deliberately encourage that behavior. Dolphins frequently get cut or even killed due to propeller strike. If you see dolphins, simply slow down so as not to tempt them with a wake.
Most of us have made some of these mistakes in the past. Once we know better, however, we can do better for our pod. So what are some things we can do to see the best, most natural dolphin activity?
First of all, carry a pair of good binoculars. Even if dolphins choose to keep their distance, you can still get a good view from afar.
When we do spot dolphins, slow down and give them space. When they don’t feel pursued, dolphins will often approach you out of curiosity. Sitting quietly enables the dolphins to feel safe and can result in them spending more time in the area, often resulting in spontaneous jumps and playful shenanigans.
So get out on the water, enjoy our dolphins and be a Pod Protector!
Monica, The Fairy Podmother can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com