Friday, August 07, 2009

Welcome Aboard!

Sailors crossing any ocean in the world are accustomed to finding flying fish on the deck in the morning, but how surprised was a Florida family the other day when a 6ft long 120 pound bottlenosed dolphin leapt into their boat.

Groups of frolicking dolphins are a familiar sight in the waters of Big Marco Pass to the east of Marco Island in Florida. Last week, one of the dolphins apparently didn't notice the boat in the vicinity, and after leaping into the air and doing a complicated turn, he landed directly on the boat’s deck.

The dolphin was stunned and no doubt very surprised at his new surroundings, but unhurt, and the crew of the boat couldn't believe their eyes.

“It was unbelievable,” said 66 year old Dee Boge. “We were like ‘Oh my god, oh my god, how are we going to get this dolphin off my boat.”’

Unable to move the dolphin themselves, Dee called for help from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, who advised them to keep the dolphin wet and calm.

She then took the boat quickly to a nearby boat ramp, where the authorities arrived to take over.

Rookery Bay officials treated the dolphin, weighed it, then used a stretcher to return the heavy dolphin, by then nicknamed “Lucky”, back into the water. The dolphin seemed to be unfazed by the experience, and swam away unhurt.

Captain Jayson Horadam with Florida Fish & Wildlife says told NBC that calling this a rarity would be an understatement.

'I have never, ever heard of a bottle-nosed dolphin landing in a boat like this in 20 years,' he said.

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