While most people come here to visit I am privileged to call this spot, which rests on the utter edge of Europe my place of work. Now it’s not just the nice views and the famous splendid Irish summers that explain my presence on Inis Oirr. I’m interested in solitary sociable dolphins, dolphins who have little or no contact with other dolphins and who regularly closely approach humans. I’m so interested in them that I’m undertaking a PhD with the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) and Galway Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) on solitary sociable dolphins (SSDs) in Ireland and it just so happens that one of these solitary sociable dolphins is residing here. She is a bottlenose dolphin and she goes by the name of Dusty or Sandy.
Thanks to the Doolin Ferry Company sponsorship of the IWDG and their funding of my passage to the Aran Islands I can travel to Inis Oirr daily to observe her behaviour. Out on Inis Oirr I spend my days walking up and down the rocks in the bay noting down Dusty’s behaviours. You can recognise me easily; I’m the woman with binoculars around my neck and a notebook in my hand, staring out to sea!
When you travel to Inis Oirr spend some time looking in the water between the pier and the beach, Dusty is often found in this area. On some days she is present all day and highly visible, while on other days she only makes a brief appearance. Dusty comes to within a few metres of the shore, making it easy to get a clear view and take pictures of her. Naturally enough I see people paddling or swimming in the sea. I also have noticed how Dusty responds to this. When she slaps the water with her tail you get out of the water. Simple as that.
I’ll be making regular posts about Dusty and Inis Oirr over the coming weeks. See www.doolinferry.com/blog for updates on my progress.
THE Doolin Ferry Company is a proud supporter of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG). Founded in 1990 the IWDG is a mixture of educators, researchers, whale watchers, and conservationists who are all enthusiastic about marine wildlife with a particular focus on cetaceans. Cetaceans include marine mammals such as whales, dolphins, and porpoises. For more information on Ireland’s marine mammals visit www.iwdg.ie.
August 15th, 2015