A pair of incidents took place either side of the island of Ireland this week that show the incredible bond and caring relationship between humans and dolphins.
The aquatic mammals are amongst the most popular species within our societies thanks to their friendly nature and extreme intelligence.
The bond between humans and dolphins was evident in Co Donegal recently when a juvenile dolphin got itself stranded on Magheroarty Beach and couldn’t make its way back to the safety of the water.
A passerby spotted the distressed animal and contacted Irish animal charity ORCA Ireland. A team of experts and volunteers quickly acted to help the dolphin back into the deeper water.
The mission involved several people and was co-ordinated by the animal experts of Orca Ireland.
The charity posted images of the rescue online and warned that the dolphin is in a weakened state and may beach itself again. It urged anyone to alert them immediately if they discover the same or any other dolphin in peril.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the country a young man was miraculously rescued by volunteer lifeboats after being swept out to sea and spending a terrifying 12 hours in the water.
Ruairí McSorley, who once went viral with his comical ‘you’ll not be long getting frostbit’ comment about the cold weather, got into difficulty after taking a swim in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Castlegregory, Co Kerry.
The alarm was raised on Sunday morning at around 8am when walkers noticed there were clothes left on the beach but could not see a swimmer out in the water.
A search was organised but it wasn’t until after 8pm that evening that a lifeboat noticed a pod of dolphins swimming about two and half miles away from the beach.
Upon closer inspection they spotted a man’s head bobbing around in the water in the middle of the protective pod.
McSorley was pulled from the water and given immediate care to warm him up and get him re-hydrated.
He was taken to hospital but remarkably came out of the ordeal relatively unscathed.
The relieved swimmer was quick to pay tribute to the lifeboat team that rescued him, describing them as ‘incredible’ and a ‘great group of people’.
McSorley revealed that the dolphins gathered around him while he was treading water in the ocean.
He spoke to the Irish Independent about his harrowing experience: “I saw Fenit lighthouse out in the water, and I said, right I’m going towards it. I wouldn’t have got in to start with if I didn’t know I was going to be grand.
“I saw these black tails in the water, and I wasn’t sure were they dolphins or sharks.
“I just thought to myself, maybe it wouldn’t have been the worst idea to have googled this before I jumped in, but they were just dolphins.
“They wouldn’t have done any harm to you. I’d no problem with them.
“They were just swimming around me. If anything, they may have helped me. It was definitely an experience.”
McSorley was staying at a nearby campsite when he decided to take the morning swim, but he didn’t tell anyone of his plans.
Fenit RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager Gerard O’Donnell said: “After a long and exhaustive search, members of the lifeboat crew were overjoyed to sight the missing swimmer in the water.
“We would advise that anyone undertaking a swim lets people know where they are going and when they expected back. This was a very lucky individual.”