Ireland honors its writers and rightfully so. They populated an inhospitable island with thoughts, dreams and stories, a lavish table for the spirit. The inspiration that has been embraced by its community knows no limits. When asking directions the regular answer is: 'Just around the corner'. The fact that this corner is 5 kilometers further on is superseded by the wish to please the needy traveler.
These creative adaptations of the truth only intensify in the case of the dolphin. Many a man and woman entertain their own repertory of experiences. Mostly with a powerful persuasion, substantiated by hard claims.
Thus Paddy asserted, two years ago, that Dusty had tried to push his little daughter off to the sea. Because I struggled in believing he invited me to see the video he happened to have made of it. On his moment of truth I saw the dolphin indeed surfacing behind his daughter. Then the screen went black and he said: 'Well, did you see that?' I said I didn't and asked why. He answered: 'Of course I had to put the camera down to rescue the poor girl'. Evidence as absurd as this has crossed my path more often.
Last year Dusty has been spotted several times in the company of other dolphins. One male visitation I have described in DA 18, 2003. Half September last year she was seen to associate with a pod of female dolphins. Almost immediately the story went that Dusty was pregnant and she would need the other dolphins as midwifes. Right after the triumphant announcement on www.irishdolphins.com the happy event was revoked. Dusty would have pushed the stillborn calf of another dolphin. Later this was changed into a lump of seaweed.
A few days ago a lean, unshaven man in a motor coat, proclaimed that Dusty had given birth that morning. He himself had witnessed the presence of the calf. 'She leaves her calf out at sea and comes in to play with the swimmers'.
The day before, when we swam with her, we had not noticed anything, but it is well known that a dolphin's pregnancy is hard to assess. Verena had made a remark about her somewhat pronounced and wrinkled vagina, compared to last year.
She reacted with feminine enthusiasm, where I felt a trifle reticent: 'Got to see first'.
We went straight away to Pollenawatch, where the waves were violently smashing on the rocks. Nothing to see, no Dusty, no calf. So we went to the more sheltered 'Second Cove'. Along the way I silently checked the waterline for a washed up calf. None to my relief. Far out we saw Ute swimming with Dusty. No calf. Two girls, that had just left the water, said they had a great swim with the dolphin, but had not seen a calf. We waited for Ute to come out and told her the story. She just laughed: 'This is the 7th or 8th time only this year that such a story goes around'.
Dusty is an exceptional dolphin, but I find it hard to believe she would be such a careless mother. But maybe that is only what I like to believe.