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Pelorus Jack (wikipedia.org)
187 points by asimjalis on May 25, 2020 | hide | past | favorite | 30 comments

Unfortunately, as often is with these things, the truth might be less exciting that the legend: http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2016/10/pelorus-jack... :(

However, if you'd like to savor the magic, the truth and the legend can be one and the same: who knows what really happened in 1909, after all :)

Is it less wonderful that, in moments of great danger and fear, this dolphin was a symbol of joy and good fortune for the sailors on the ship?

It's pretty magical to me to think that a dolphin, just doing dolphin things and playing in the wake of a giant wooden sea vessel, was enough to see those sailors through life-and-death situations.

Little reminders of good in the world, regardless of whether the reminders themselves are aware of it, can really change things for the better for a whole lot of people.

Happily, nothing in that article really contradicted the Wikipedia page (or at least my reading of it). I took “guided” to be a kind of romanticized “swam alongside,” not that the ships were using the dolphin as literal navigational aid. The article actually confirms the behavior.

On the other hand, it makes the move to protect him more commendable. It wasn't just out of self-interest.

Never read about the true incident after watching a "historical movie". :-)

Pelorus Bridge is the most beautiful swimming spot if you're ever in that part of the world. The bridge runs over the river which runs into the sound that Pelorus Jack was named after.


Note to the unwary: If you ever find yourself in that part of the world, be prepared for everything you see to be accurately describable as "the most beautiful".

The entire south island of New Zealand is "the most beautiful"!

Heh. It looks like ordinary NZ bush to me! I'm not sure I'd say the entire South Island though, as quite a bit of it is boring farmland.

Here are the places in the article: https://www.google.com/maps/@-41.051886,173.738907,51935m/da...

Pelorus Sound is in the middle and extends down to Havelock. French Pass is at the top. There's not nearly as much regular boat traffic through either anymore, as most inter-island traffic takes the big Interislander ferry which comes in to Picton (just south of map), and then there's a road to Nelson (over to the west).

This is absolutely true. I'm lucky to have it 45 minutes down the road from where I live, we visit frequently. It's gorgeous.

(Hi d_t_w!)


>In 1904, someone aboard the SS Penguin tried to shoot Pelorus Jack with a rifle. Despite the attempt on his life, Pelorus Jack continued to help ships. According to folklore, however, he no longer helped the Penguin, which shipwrecked in Cook Strait in 1909.

If this is true, it's the most amazing thing. Imagine a dolphin having a grudge with a ship

You might be interested in the story of the whaling ship Essex which was sunk by a Sperm whale.



It seems too good to be true in my opinon.

Not that far-fetched, though. Corvids, for example, are known to hold grudges against specific humans who have done them wrong.

And seaguls also. I'm convinced that the seagul that attacked me with an um air-dropped er weapon was the same one that I shooed away from my window on the same day one springtime.

Bloody birds.

Of interest: the first link in the article defines fl. <date range> as a standard syntax meaning the dates in which someone was know to be alive and flourishing.

I did not know this until today.


No one wins a flds medal after 40.

Almost more interesting than Pelorus Jack, and is currently observable is French Pass, the hazard he helped them navigate through...


> The pass is 500 metres (1,600 ft) across, but the main navigation channel (the "throat" or "narrows") contracts down to only 100 metres (330 ft) with a 20-metre (66 ft) deep shoaling region. Most of the rest of the pass is broken reef.[8]

> On one side is Cook Strait with a tidal range up to 2 metres (6.6 ft), and on the other side is Tasman Bay with a tidal range up to 4 metres (13 ft).[9] This can result in substantial pressure gradients across the pass, complicated by a phase or time difference of about 25 minutes between the high tides on either side. Peak flow in the throat of the pass is around 4 metres per second (13 ft/s).[10]

> Near to the pass are deep holes where strong vertical flows can occur.[11] In 2000, student divers taking part in a drift dive during the local ebb flow were separated from their surface float and caught in a whirlpool. This dragged them into "Jacob's Hole", a 68-metre (223 ft)[12] deep depression south west of the pass. The depth of this descent resulted in multiple fatalities. The group appears to have been drawn deep into the hole and then returned to the surface again. A dive computer record of one of the survivors show a depth of up to 89-metre (292 ft). According to the coroner's report, the accident occurred on a falling tide, so the current was flowing from the south west to the north east.[13][14]

Thank you. What an amazing story!

The most brilliant part:

Occupation - Dolphin

I find it quite sad that multiple people have tried to kill it :(

What a beautiful story!

And as always the human being leaving his mark. One shot :(

More about dolphins in this youtube video with dr. Laurance Doyle at 30 minutes. In it languages are compared and apparently language dolphins follow Zipf law.

https://youtu.be/H30NipTkA5s https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zipf%27s_law

There is a similar, and fascinating, story of killer whales co-operating with humans: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Killer_whales_of_Eden,_New_Sou...

There is also this which is a bit similar: https://www.livescience.com/20027-dolphins-work-fishermen.ht...

I'm a little late to this thread, but the French Pass looks like no cake walk to navigate:


I'm waiting for someone to come into this thread and say the dolphin was just doing it for food.

Some can not accept that dolphins are more sophisticated than some humans, on the basis they are smart and maybe bored.

Dolphin equivalent of a trainspotter. Doing it for food would be objectively intelligent.

>It is an important and popular fact that things are not always what they seem. For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much – the wheel, New York, wars, and so on – whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man – for precisely the same reasons.

-HG2G, Douglas Adams

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