Mature Life Features

Cecil Scaglione, Editor

Dolphins Dance off Clearwater

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Everyone scrambled to the back of the boat as the captain gunned the vessel to create a wake he claimed the dolphins can’t resist.

More than half a dozen bottlenose dolphins pranced in, out, over, and under the stern swell as the 40-foot tourist-laden tugboat roared through the emerald Gulf of Mexico waters less than a mile off Clearwater.

After listening to passenger squeals and squeaks of delight for about 20 minutes, he cut the speed and the cavorting cetaceans with the constant grin skittered off.

Dolphins play and prey along this coast of Florida but they also become victims.

A celebrated case is Winter, which lost its tail to a crab trap. It was about three months old when found near Cape Canaveral in late 2005 tangled tightly in the trap’s buoy line.

Rescuers took it to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. The mangled flukes fell off but tender loving care restored the mammal to health.

Winter made history because a coalition of several agencies and experts worked on designing and fitting the dolphin with a prosthetic tail.  A movie was made of the entire development.

This marine attraction preaches and practices the three Rs: rescue, rehabilitate and release. Dolphins, otters, sea turtles, sharks, and sting rays are returned to the wild.

It also monitors sea turtle nests that abound on the barrier islands that protect much of this shoreline. The egg-laying season begins May 1 and the last hatchlings head for the open sea in late August.

Many of these newborns need help to guide them to the water because they use the moonlight to get there but city lights and other illumination can confuse them.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

October 30, 2021 at 5:00 am

Posted in United States.

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