• Aran Islands
    Inis Oírr Dusty the Dolphin

A lovely local character that has become a regular sight at Doolin Pier is Dusty the Doolin Dolphin. Dusty first arrived to Doolin back around the year of 1999. A local women named Dolores Delaney won a radio competition back then to give the new Doolin resident a name. Dolores chose the name Dusty after Dusty Springfield, who had spent many a day in Doolin before she passed away.

Dusty is thought to be about 16 years old which would make her a young mature female. Dolphins can live between 30 to 50 years depending on the environment in which they live. Dusty is about 10 feet in length and weighs roughly between 300 and 400lbs (135 to 180 kg).

Dusty’s eyesight is excellent and she can see just as clearly under water as we can above. She has the added advantage of being able to see clearly both above and below the water surface. She also has the ability to see using her echolocation or sonar. She makes loud buzzing sounds and clicks using a small flap of skin that manipulates air in the blowhole (similar to slowly squeezing air out of a balloon). These clicks pass through her forehead (melon) and out into the water. The sound bounces off objects and returns to her. She recieves the sounds through her head and lower jaw (acoustic window) and is then given a picture of what lies ahead. She uses this technique to hunt fish and crusteaceans. The other amazing advantage to her sonar sight is that it can penetrate everything around her, including us. She can see our nervous system, our heart beating, and our lungs contracting. She can also see babies in the womb.

Here is a short film of Dusy using her sonar to look that the hydrophone recording her at Doolin Pier: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=opyIF4pDO3M

Dusty in general is very tolerant of people however she does have her moments of frustration and anger, and rightly so. She always gives warnings when she becomes irritated and the second she does this people should calmly back away, slowly leave the area, and give her time to calm herself.

What to watch for

  • Jaw Snap (snaps aggressively towards you).
  • Tail Slaps on the surface of the water.
  • Raised head out of the water and slaps the side of her head over and over again on the surface.
  • Beaches out of the water and slams down on her side upon re-entry.

The most common displays of frustration from Dusty are the Jaw Snaps and Tail Slaps.

Swimming with Dusty the Dolphin at Doolin Pier is not permitted. Only professionals who are familiar with Dusty are able to swim with her. Please respect this amazing Dolphin by remember she is a wild Dolphin who simply resides in Doolin. Please watch and enjoy her charms happily from the Pier and ashore.

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