So I know Long Island Sound is not a bay but the word “sound” to describe a body of water does not seem to exist in any other language so bay was the closest I came up with. Not to mention most people don’t seem to know what a sound is when it comes to nautical knowledge but anyways.

So I know I said I would not blog anymore since I am no longer in Europe and my life is back to the usual American boredom. However that boredom was momentarily broken yesterday when I saw some dolphins in the Long Island Sound!

Yesterday Hermana notified our family that she had heard on the radio that some dolphins had been spotted off of City Island and near the Throg’s Neck bridge. Papa also decided yesterday was the perfect day to clean the boat (and it was absolutely gorgeous weather after the Noah’s Ark like weather we’ve been having since I’ve been home) so we all went to the marina to help. Well… I read a book on the dock while Hermana and El Primo chatted.
In case you didn’t know, we have a primo frances living with us til January. He is interning for one of my dad’s friends and repairs computers for a living. He is also here to improve his English so our dinner conversations have been an interesting mix of franglais and hilarious misunderstandings. Now I know what Paqui must feel like all the time when she speaks Spanish at a snail’s pace. God bless her paciencia, because I don’t have a lot.
So even though we were theoretically helping to clean the boat, there really isn’t that much room in the cabin. All it takes is one person standing and it’s already crowded. So it was the parents who ended up doing the cleaning.
After they cleaned, Papa decided it would be a perfect day to take the boat out for the first time this season. And we all heartily approved of this idea! I can’t even remember the last time I went out on the boat. Probably some time last summer, but I spent most of that summer on Shelter Island.
So out we went, slowly going past all the country clubs and the Rye Golf course, in the little channel that leads out to the Long Island Sound. We even got to see some wedding activity at the Wainwright House and as usual, Mom and I tried to see if we could spot the bride. The channel hasn’t changed much, except that the tide didn’t appear to change on our way out into the Sound and on our way back to the marina. In case you have never been on my boat, the level of the water in the channel we take to get out to the Sound changes drastically with the tide. The town is constantly having to dredge the silt every couple of years because at low tide the water becomes ridiculously shallow, sometime even hitting 2 feet. However with all the rain we’ve been having, the channel’s water level remained high!
Once we hit the Sound, the water got rougher and the boat sped up. As usual, Papa headed in Playland’s direction which is where we go EACH time we take the boat out. Hermana convinced Papa to go the other way and check out the dolphins. We (or at least I) had never gone in that direction before and we passed a couple of lighthouses I had no idea existed until now. And so we passed by City Island and the southwestern end of Long Island (which I believe is Brooklyn?) and we saw a bunch of boats idling up ahead in front of the Throg’s Neck and SUNY Maritime.
We all got excited because the presence of the boats indicated the dolphins had to be hanging around. As we scanned the waters, a bunch of dorsal fins surfaced and began bobbing up and down, coming up for a breather. They were VERY close to our boat and literally popped up right in front of us. I can’t tell you how many there were, but from the number of fins I saw, maybe between 8-12 dolphins? There might have been more but they only came up for a couple of seconds. I didn’t get to see their heads or anything but they were unmistakably dolphins.
We were getting so close we had to tell Papa to turn the boat in another direction because we didn’t want to hit the animals. In fact, I think there’s a law that states that boaters need to remain a certain amount of yards away from dolphins. That makes sense-they are wild animals after all and are big and powerful (and not to mention unpredictable). As soon as the dolphins surfaced near us, all the other boaters moved in our direction but the dolphins had already disappeared under water by the time most of them made it to our area.
Unfortunately I didn’t get any pictures. It was so fast and so unexpected, we really didn’t think we would get that close to them that quickly. We did spot them a couple more times but they had moved in another direction farther from our area and Papa didn’t want to spend the whole day chasing after them. Not to mention it was early evening and starting to get dark so we sadly had to leave.
But it was such an amazing experience! I have seen dolphins before in aquariums but never had I seen them in the wild before. What makes this even more unique is that dolphins never come around here. I know they’ve been spotted before on Long Island’s north shore but they don’t ever make into the Sound. This is the first time something so exotic has made an appearance in the waters around here in a very long time!
Apparently a pod of a couple of hundred dolphins had been spotted on LI’s north shore last week around Huntingdon/Northport (the northern end of Long Island) and then some of them backtracked into the Sound. I honestly think they got lost and now that they are near the Throg’s Neck, they must be so confused with the different land masses surrounding them with City Island, Long Island and the mainland coastline off in the distance. Hopefully they find their way out into the Atlantic soon and swim off to wherever they were originally supposed to go. I just hope they don’t end up beached somewhere because that would be no fun. 😦
It was a nice change from the usual horse shoe crabs, hermit crabs, and the occasional starfish that populate the beaches around here. Hopefully it will happen again someday but I think what happened was a very rare occurrence. My mom grew up in my hometown and in all her years living here has never heard of dolphins venturing into the Sound. Apparently sea lions pop up over the winter but I have yet to see those too.
Now I can say I’ve seen whales AND dolphins in the wild! Maybe a pod of whales will show up someday around here. Though usually what’s happened in the past is a whale gets separated from its group, gets lost, and washes up on a beach somewhere. 😦
So if you live in the area, keep an eye out for the dolphins! They might still be hanging around here. If you do decide to go after them in a boat, just remember to keep a safe distance away. They are beautiful animals but they deserve some space too!
So that’s it, I just wanted to share my dolphin adventures. If you see them, try to get some pictures or video footage!
your Long Island Sound dolphin enthusiast,
Amelie
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