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Old 19-06-2006, 06:07   #1
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Dolphins steering the boat?

Well for the first time in my life, I had dolphins swimming with the boat. We passed by 3 different pods of them this weekend, and they came over to examine this big fish.

The strange thing was that just before they popped up around the boat I could feel the rudder being "tapped" not like I hit anything but more like one of them came up and gently pushed it to one side then another would come by and tap it in the other direction.

Anyone else have dolphin try to steer the boat for them?

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Old 19-06-2006, 06:33   #2
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We have them here in the spring and some in the summer. They love to hunt as a pod and drive the small fish onto the shoals then pig out. After they do that they just play untill they get hungry. It appears that one good hunt satisfies them for a good long time so then they have a lot of time to waste.

When under sail they just play with the boat like they play with each other. Jumping and going under and up on the other side of the boat in pairs or trios. Not unusal to see quite a few together with a wide age range. They are a very social creature. Quite a sight as you've seen. I think they just bumped the rudder. I doubt they really know that it might actually control your course. It's always been exciting to me.

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Old 19-06-2006, 06:51   #3
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I was going up a creek in South Carolina a few years ago to visit a friend who had a house on the water there. He had given me a hand drawn sketch of where the water was. It was about two miles up to his house and I ran aground four or five times ( I had waited till low water before going up the creek). The last time I went aground I didn't know which way to go until two dolphins appeared to my port. I went left and found good water. My wife claims that they were showing us the way. Whatever it was, I was glad they came along.
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Old 19-06-2006, 16:21   #4
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A dolphin is not a manatee: he's a silver bolt of laughing lightning. I don't think he bumps into anything he doesn't want to bump into.

Sailed through pods before, and have had them come play & surf my bow wave, but have never had any bump my rudder. If this is the only thing that moves on the underbody, it's sure to get their attention, and I suppose it's possible for one to come up and give it a nudge.
s/y Elizabeth Catalina 34 MkII
"Man must have just enough faith in himself to have adventures, and just enough doubt of himself to enjoy them." G. K. Chesterfield
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Old 27-06-2006, 06:22   #5

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A little drift... but one of the most amazing things I've seen was a pod of maybe 100-150 dolphins in Bonaire. We were snorkeling/diving and I heard them coming while watching for the divers from the tender. I was sitting in the sun and heard this weird "pfffffft!" sound. Then another pffffft! They kept getting more frequent, so I looked up. I saw a great swath of the bay filled with porpoises. There were adults leaping and bounding, and very small babies about a foot long leaping in tiny little arcs with the larger arcs of the adults. Naturally, we went underwater to check them out. It was amazing... once (or hopefully twice!) in a lifetime experience.
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Old 07-07-2006, 08:37   #6
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Crossing the Pacific from one tropical place to another. (Forget where) It was the middle of the night, I was offwatch and sleeping, Julie was on deck and we were sailing along. The wind let up and we slowed down to about 2 kn. The change in conditions woke me up or was it the -Whap!- on the side of the hull? Our boat is a light cored boat with very little interior so anyhting that touches the hull or deck resonates pretty loudly inside. I'm laying there thinking "What the heck was.." -Whap!- again. Then again. Julie, on deck, calls down to me "Check this out, the dolphins are swimming up and whacking the side off the boat!". I guess they were trying to get us moving again.

The most annoying was in Mexico where a school of Jack Cravell(sp?) attempted to commit suicide swimming into our prop. We'd just motored into an anchorage (Tenicatita) and it was thump bump chop! I shut down the motor and looked over the side. Fish circling the boat.. Kick it back into gear and zom! They all swim back under the boat and into the prop. And I'm talking a lot of fish! Off the transom it was solid fishbacks! Wierd.

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Old 07-07-2006, 12:03   #7
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We were in a race off of Ft. Lauderdale. One of the newer crewmembers saw a dolphin on our bow and said "Don't hit the Dolphin." I told her that I would try not to....
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Old 29-07-2006, 08:51   #8
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For the life of me I can't remember the specifics of this story, or if I read it in a book or on the internet or what.

In one of the difficult and dangerous channels to manuever through around Great Britain, a dolphin took to leading the ships through. Cruise ships, container ships, and even battle ships would follow the dolphin safely through this channel. One day a "gentleman" aboard a cruise ship shot the dolphin with a rifle. It was a few months before the dolphin showed up again and resumed it's guide role. It would guide every ship except for the one that had wounded it, which eventually ran against the rocks.

Other than that I just see them a lot when I take the little catamaran out.

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