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By Chris Rurik
Key Peninsula News 

Dolphin Pays a Rare Visit to the Key Peninsula


Last updated 9/17/2020 at 4:32pm

Jeffrey Tritt

An unforgettable dolphin experience.

A dolphin has been putting on a show around the southern tip of the Key Peninsula.

"The acrobatics I witnessed were incredible and unlike anything else outside of Sea World," said Longbranch resident Jeffrey Tritt. His string of encounters with the rare cetacean began July 18, on the return leg of a boat trip to Olympia.

He was passing the red buoy off Devil's Head when another boat appeared. "Two people stood in the boat laughing and pointing at a dolphin weaving across their bow and at times going completely airborne," he reported. Tritt has enjoyed encounters with porpoises over the years, but this animal was something special.

When the dolphin left the other boat, Tritt did a circle of the area. Before long the dolphin appeared just off his bow. As Tritt sped north the dolphin kept pace, at times leaping on either side of the bow. Tritt's son and his son's girlfriend lay in the bow of the boat and Tritt watched as the dolphin rotated its body to give them a close look from 4 feet away.

The animal is a long-beaked common dolphin (Delphinus capensis), a species with a global range in warm-temperate and tropical waters that is the most abundant cetacean in the world, with a population estimated at 6 million. These dolphins are numerous off the coast of Southern California and Mexico, living in groups of hundreds or even thousands of individuals, but rarely do they venture farther north.

In 2016, according to Cascadia Research Collective, two pods of these dolphins made an unprecedented excursion into Puget Sound, finding their way to its southern reaches. Most soon exited, but a handful of individuals stayed behind and have been living in South Puget Sound ever since, spending much of their time in Case Inlet, near Olympia, and around Anderson Island, with occasional forays as far north as Tacoma.

To read more from this article, visit http://keypennews.org/stories/dolphin-pays-a-rare-visit-to-the-kp,3605


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