Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Spearfisherman Attacked by Dolphins!

Common Bottlenose Dolphins off the North Coast - pic Robin
Common Bottlenose Dolphins off the North Coast
Just when you thought it was safe to go in the water! Out come the North Coast 'Killer' Dolphins!!

No Seriously the local pod of dolphins off the north Coast area are rather aggressive. Here is a mail that was past onto me:

...have you guys received any “stories” of being molested by dolphins on the North Coast? Yesterday I went for a morning drift off the stairs at Sheffield Beach and when off the Christmas Bay point I got ‘mugged’ by a school of dolphins. It started out pretty mellow with me diving down in clean shallow water on the backline to check out the dolphins as they swam below me. The dolphins turned over as they sometimes do, presenting their undersides, and sort of nodding their heads, ‘smiling’ and looking upwards at me. I was enjoying swimming with them at close range all the while listening to them whistling and smiling back at them when suddenly the biggest one swirled out of the formation and buzzed me as a shark would. I got the fright of my diving life as it effectively somersaulted me over in its ‘prop wash’ as I fended it off. I headed for the surface a bit surprised by the sudden show of aggression and when I looked down the whole school took the big guy’s lead and surrounded me, making a heck of a racket and taking turns darting in at me. It was bloody intimidating to say the least and effectively ruined the remainder of my dive as I was continuously looking over my shoulder.

I did have a snoek on my float which I had pulled in close when I heard them coming and the one tried to pick it off while the school was working me over. I can’t help but think that this is this particular school’s modus operandi and I was wondering if anyone else has had a similar encounter.

Clive Hockly
You might think that dolphins attacking is 'bull' but I have lost more fish in the last 10 years to dolphins than to sharks off our coast.

The one time I had a large female showing her young how to out whit me ... and she did just that. Another time it was a whole pod like in Clives case, but the most intimidated I ever felt was with a big bull dolphin. I am not sure if you have ever seen Gambit at the Durban Aquarium, he is about 500kg, this chap look like this... bigger than any shark I had seen.
This huge dolphin did not try and out maneuver me and sneak up like the others. He just confronted me straight on ...and very close. I tried to push and punch but he just bobbed and weaved out the way.

Here is an interesting fact: a large Bottlenose Dolphin will eat as much as 35kg of fish a day. And at the moment there is nothing keeping their population down, so when they see your fish ...they are thinking easy meal!!

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