Monday, August 4, 2008

Lost dolphin puts on show, then shot

On Saturday afternoon near 86th and the bay in Sea Isle City, NJ Coast Guard officials attempted to direct a stray dolphin toward the Townsend's inlet and back into the Atlantic Ocean. The Coast Guard was unsure how long the dolphin had been in the bay, but the mammal was attracting a large crowd both on land and on the water.

Speed boats, kayaks, sailboats, jet skis and other water craft gathered near the dolphin to get a better glimpse. However, boaters did not have to do much as the very social "fish" visited many of the vessels up close to say hello and put a Sea World-type show on for some.

"It was amazing! He came up next to our boat and popped his head out and he let everyone on board pet him," said Sarah Hillsdale, visiting from Cherry Hill, NJ.

The dolphin would then dive under the bay water for several minutes and surface next to another watercraft to start the show all over again.

There was one boat that the dolphin did not include on its visits: the Coast Guard speed boat.

"It was very noticeable. Just basically ignored the orange boat. Maybe it's scared of orange or something," reasoned Jeff Ilgalsciss, owner of the boat "Made of the Fist."

Through out the ordeal the Coast Guard was announcing, via loud speaker, to the boat crowd not to touch the dolphin and not to chase it further from the inlet.

Timmy McKitt, 11, aboard the "Waves and Daves," admitted to trying to stick a Dorito in the mammal's blow hole. "I didn't mean to do it. Even if I meant it I thought it would be able to chew it with its blow hole teeth. Plus it was cool ranch, anyway."

"We were just very frustrated that the dolphin was ignoring us. It was making us look so bad. It wouldn't come over to us to say 'hello' and that was considered a threat to the coast," said General Bradley Sorono.

The Coast Guard has its own color code for terror level: orange for orange-level terror, red for red-level terror, and magenta for magenta-level terror.

Though the three crew members could not agree on a threat level each felt "the porpoise had a purpose." It was at this point that the dolphin was shot...with a telephoto lens so its image could be added to the organization's "Threat Website."

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