How a Pod of Dolphins Saved Swimmers From a Great White Shark in 2004

Yana Bostongirl

Tales of dolphins coming to the rescue of drowning sailors and people being attacked by sharks have been circulating for years. In 2004, a British-born lifeguard named Rob Howes experienced firsthand how it is to be saved by dolphins.

According to reports, Rob Howe was swimming with his daughter and her two friends off Ocean Beach near Whangarei on the North Island when they were suddenly surrounded by a pod of bottle nose dolphins. Although he initially assumed they were being playful, it did not take long for him to see something was seriously wrong.

He and his group were being hunted by a Great White that was at least 10 feet in length.

This is what he said to the New Zealand Press Association about the events leading up to the shark sighting: "They started to herd us up, they pushed all four of us together by doing tight circles around us." He recalled attempting to move away from the group only to be herded back in by two of the bigger dolphins and it was only then that he noticed the approaching shark: "I just recoiled. It was only about two metres away from me, the water was crystal clear and it was as clear as the nose on my face. They had corralled us up to protect us."

The shark was put off by the dolphins and decided to move on after around 40 minutes.

Expert Ingrid Visser of Orca Research told the Northern Advocate put forth this reason as to why dolphins rescue swimmers: "They could have sensed the danger to the swimmers, and taken action to protect them."

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