Dolphin in Distress on Gapang

Today there were no fishing boats, no dive boats in the water around the island out of respect for the anniversary of the tsunami. So most of the day was spent just talking, reminiscing. Just when the day appeared to be winding down the most unbelievable event happened.

Spinner Dolphin 26-12-2005

We were called to the beach to find a dolphin in distress with a huge crowd of people around trying to see it. The poor animal kept trying to beach itself, so some people tried redirecting it in the water. It swam from one end of the beach along the shore to the rocky area at the other end where it was hurting itself even more on the rocks.

It looked like the dolphin needed to regain its strength. To help it do this a number of us created a makeshift sling off the back of the dive boat using a couple of hammocks. We stayed in the water with the animal for about 2 hours. When dusk started to arrive it was decided that the best thing would be to see if the animal would continue to try to beach itself or if it would return to the open water. We carefully removed it from the slings and with some of the divers in fins, masks and snorkels we tried to direct it to the open water. At first the dolphin seemed to be testing it’s strength. It started circling back from the deeper waters and we were worried that it would try to beach itself again. But instead it almost seemed to keep swimming close enough to each of us in the water to say thanks, after a few circles in the shallow water someone noticed that just about 100 meters away were other dolphins. Our friend took one more spin around then we saw that he had joined the pod.
We were all smiles as we watched the pod until you couldn’t see their fins any more. What a headline ” Divers help distressed Lumba Lumba in front of Lumba Lumba Diving Centre” (LumbaLumba in Indonesian means dolphin). What an amazing afternoon!

-Debbie, Canada