Flipper furore as second dolphin moves in on Inis Oírr

It’s double trouble for swimmers as Inis Oírr’s resident bottlenose dolphin, Sandy, seems to have taken up with a French bad boy by the name Clet with the two now controlling their surf and the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group urging caution.

The new arrival, a solitary bottlenose dolphin with a history of long distance relocations and aggression towards swimmers, first arrived off the south coast a few weeks ago, eventually making his way along the West Cork coastline, in both Schull and Baltimore harbours, and stopping off in Dingle, Co Kerry. However, with Fungie not available to receive visitors, Clet then moved on to the Aran Islands where he clearly found a reason to hang around, for a while that is.

Sandy, who was previously known as Dusty while resident around Doolin in Clare, relocated to the sandy beach at Inis Oírr earlier this year to find some peace and quiet. She had been teased and mistreated by some swimmers and at least four people were hospitalised in recent years after she became aggressive. In April, major works which involved blasting began at Doolin prompting Dusty/Sandy to find a new home.

According to the IWDG, Clet originated in French waters but has spent the last number of years off the South Devon, Cornish, and Welsh coastlines. However, he recently moved from the Tresco Channel in the Isles of Scilly to the southwest coast of Ireland. After interacting with sail boats at Glandore Harbour, County Cork, Clet started to make a name for himself in Sherkin Island pontoon/marina area where there was a report of an adult swimmer who was “aggressively pushed underwater” by a dolphin who attacked twice and lashed out with its tail. Clet was next spotted in Skelligs in County Kerry which prompted IWDG hopes of an interaction with Dingle’s famous dolphin, Fungie.

Inis Oírr co-op manager and regular recorder Paddy Crowe confirmed a sighting of Clet in the company of Sandy off the island’s pier this week. Although Clet never got to spend time with Fungie during his Kerry visit, according the IWDG he has “hit it right off with Dusty/Sandy”.

However, the group has warned swimmers to be careful as both of these dolphins have a track record in interacting aggressively. “Do not confuse the shape of their jawline with a smile. They can and do cause serious injury to humans and have killed in the past,” warns IWDG who are eagerly waiting to see where Clet’s next port of call will be.

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