‘Twas the Night Before Dolphins…

Twas the night before Christmas, and all through BC
Lots of creatures were swimming and jumping at sea.
The waves were all breaking ashore without care,
And sea lions roared so you’d know they were there.

Sea otters were nestled all snug in kelp beds,
While decorator crabs put new hats on their heads.
The humpbacks were singing and headed down South,
And the octopus was searching for food for its mouth.

When out in the water there arose such a racket,
The lighthouse keeper rushed outside with her jacket.
She looked high and low to see what was the cause,
Of the noises she’d heard. Was it flippers or paws?

The moon on the crest of the slow rolling waves
Shone bright on the edge of the small island caves.
When, what to her wondering eyes should appear,
But a startling number of dolphins, quite clear!

They were grey with white stripes, they were lively and quick,
And the vocals they made were all squeals and clicks.
More rapid than eagles the dolphins they came,
She whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

“These dolphins have not been seen here for so long
I must check my books in case I am wrong!
But I truly believe what I’m seeing tonight,
Is the return of Pacific White Sided Dolphins alright!”

photo credit: Jackie Hildering

For hundreds of years in British Columbia Pacific white-sided dolphins could only be found well and truly offshore but on Christmas Eve, 1984 their vocals were picked up on hydrophones in Johnstone Strait, off the Northeast Coast of Vancouver Island. Lighthouse keepers and researchers delighted in their highly acrobatic displays!

While their return might seem like a special holiday treat we now know that they were actually returning back to their original homes.  Scientists have found Pacific white-sided dolphin teeth in First Nations’ archaeological sites which means that the species once lived here over 2000 years ago, left for the open ocean and now has come home, just in time for the holidays. Why they returned is still a mystery but they seem to be here to stay, at least for now.

Whale Tales of these animals are some of our favourites to read so on this Christmas Eve we hope you can curl up by the fire and enjoy browsing our library before falling asleep. From all of us at Whale Tales, “Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!

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