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Dobbs was a more-or-less amateur diver and photographer when he met wild dolphin Donald; then, losing his job, he was inspired by Donald's message of freedom to devote his life to his hobby. Here he tells of a series of human encounters with Donald, from the dolphin's first sighting off the Isle of Man. A woman diver named Maura developed a special empathy with him, and through her Dobbs too dove and frisked with Donald. Eventually Donald disappeared, but he turned up later in Wales, where he acquired new human friends, and still later in Cornwall, where his closest companion was another woman whose birthday was the same as Maura's. (What's more, Dobbs tells us, their mothers had the same birthday.) At last Donald disappeared off Falmouth--whether out to sea, as Dobbs would like to believe, or into a can, as a local woman reckoned--no one knows for sure. Meanwhile there are observations of Donald's playful friendliness toward humans, his aid in rescuing a drowning man, and his ""Messing Around With Boats""--as Dobbs titles one chapter wherein we see Donald lending a push from underneath to a dinghy racer. During Dobbs' two years of Donald-watching. the only show of violence occurred when the dolphin, on two separate occasions, was presented with a mirror; Dobbs reasonably attributes this to confusion rather than aggression toward an apparent fellow-dolphin. Along with these anecdotes, Dobbs fills us in on dolphins' impressive adaptation to their underwater home--and, betimes, on the daily comings and goings of the dolphin followers. For their armchair equivalents, there is much intimate footage here, if little in the way of stirring experience or new information.

Pub Date: Oct. 18th, 1982
Publisher: St. Martin's