Thursday, June 24, 2010

Encounters with Marine Wildlife

We've all seen the BBC footage of David Attenborough getting up close and personal with some form of wild species. And poor old Steve Irwin's closeness was his downfall. But it's become frequently common to see so many pictures of people in far away destinations interacting with wildlife at very close quarters. The interaction is usually for a photograph that we really don't want to see...because the human looks out of place, disrespectful and often silly. Expedition sea kayaker slide-shows to the Faraway Isles are often laced with such cringey shots.
The photo on the right was published in last summers Patagonia catalogue. It created a bit of a fuss with the ever so 'right on' organization. Today, whilst on a Little Tybee trip I recounted the story about how, on occasion the Carnegie offspring would ride on the backs of giant sea turtles as they crossed the beach back to the ocean(dumb rich kids). Of course, those were the lucky ones that did not end up in the Sunday gumbo (the turtles, not the kids alas.)
So nowadays, of course, there are strict guide lines for interaction with marine wildlife, particularly for dolphins and sea turtles, released by The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Office of Protected Resources.

• Remain at least 50 yards away from dolphins.
• Limit your time observing an animal to 1/2 hour.
• Do not encircle or trap dolphins between boats or the shore.
• If approached by dolphins while boating, put the engine in neutral and allow them to pass.
• Never attempt to swim with a dolphin. Leave the water if approached by an animal while swimming.

Keep the wild wild.

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