Thursday, June 6, 2013

A Dolphin Funeral?

There are so many times that we are made aware of the special nature of dolphins, their physical beauty, their intelligence and even their spiritual nature. I am a sceptic by nature and a journalist with legal training by profession, so when I write of spirituality among dolphins it does not come from my mystical side but from strict observation. Below is a report from Mike Riggs, who observed something marvelous and not a little sad off San Onofre, California.
Last Friday night I went surfing close to San Onofre power plant. When we got there we saw dolphins jumping towards a couple of surfers down the beach. I paddled out just before sunset and a large dolphin jumped towards me. I've seen that a thousand times so I thought it was cool, but no big deal. When I was sitting in the water I looked back at the beach. I noticed a shiny thing a quarter mile down the beach and thought it was a dead seal. I got a wave down
towards it and went in to check it out. It was a large dead dolphin, 7 ft, healthy looking (it was dead but looked well fed, no large injuries.) It looked like its stomach was out of his mouth, and his anal area had spilled out a bit. But it was fully intact, teeth, fins, everything intact. Slightly balloted. (bloated?)

Half hour later the tide came up high enough to bring it back down into the shorebreak a bit. A few minutes after it was bobbing in the shorebreak, 20 dolphins came in to just past where the waves were breaking. I have never seen this, but they stood still in the water, about 15 ft apart, completely stationary with just the tips of their dorsal fins barely above the surface. They stayed 15 ft apart all spaced out, completely still, ALL facing the dead dolphin on the beach/shorebreak. They remained still, facing the dead one for
5 or 6 minutes. They didn't move, stayed evenly spaced apart, all facing in. Then they slowly went back under and slowly swam away as a group.

It truly seemed to me like they were showing respect, almost reverence for the dead one. It was like a dolphin funeral. They weren't being aggressive or curious, they were still, concentrating on the event. It was truly moving. I spend a lot of time on the beach and in the water. I've seen literally thousands of dolphins, and seen them do many things. But this was different. They were concentrating on their positioning, placement, direction they were
facing and each other.


  1. REMARKABLE .. mostly that their common practice was witnessed by an observant person. Exquisitely developed from eons in a medium we only thrash briefly in, we still guess about the height of their development .. while continuing to molest, imprison, and kill them in 3rd world countries, Japan, and marine circuses, SeaWorld, Marineland, etc. The 'ugly American' on a global scale, our world is besieged with an arrogance epidemic. MOST AMAZING thing of all is dolphin sharing any of their moments with "ugly terrestials".

  2. "It is interesting to note that while some dolphins are reported to have learned English -- up to 50 words used in correct context -- no human being has been reported to have learned dolphinese." --Carl Sagan.

    What the Navy is doing with sonar testing is a true abomination. I have heard the cries of dolphins and whales being subjected to sonar that reaches areas the size of Texas, rupturing their internal organs and hearing/sonar mechanisms. There is no good reason for the Navy to deploy sonar testing when computer modeling and simulation. They don't even employ the Navy's own developed methods for clearing an area prior to testing. Cetaceans are intelligent, sentient beings and as allegedly intelligent, sentient beings it is our duty and honor to protect them, instead of betray the trust they show willingly show in us. My heart breaks over this.

  3. Wonderful...but where they STILL?

  4. They are such amazing and beautiful creatures and so compassionate. Thank you for sharing what you witnessed!

  5. Absolutely incredible! I am always so deeply moved by stories like this...mind, body and spirit. Cetaceans are such precious, beautiful, complex and amazing beings. There is no doubt in my mind that they truly are nonhuman persons. The more we learn of their culture, heritage and language, the more I am awestruck. Intelligent Life has been found -- in the Ocean. Thank you so much for sharing this story with us, Hardy. Thank you for all you do. Much love and be well, sweetheart! <3

  6. When you spoke of the dolphin being bloated I thought she might have been .... Pregnant and died because she couldnt give birth for some reason. Perhaps the calf kept growing inside of her, or died inside her causing infection, eventually forcing the insides out. Either way its moving her family gathered around her. Makes you wonder what they were thinking and what was the cause of its death.

  7. Is there any possibility that these injuries could have been the result of exposure to sonar?

  8. If you wish for deep look at dolphin spirituality, have you read my Ripple?