There are numerous stories of dolphins that have come to the aid of distressed humans in kindly acts of interspecies courtesy out at sea -- but now, following a startling incident in Brazil, at least one pod of dolphins has a similar tale to share.
What started out as just another sunny morning at the beach, 70 miles east of Rio de Janeiro, took a sudden turn yesterday as nearly an entire pod of dolphins washed onto the sand and began struggling in the surf. Fortunately for the 20 or so animals in serious risk of becoming stranded, they weren't alone. Just as quickly as the dolphins began wading ashore, dozens of helpful beachgoers arrived to offer them a helping hand back out to sea -- and fortunately for the rest of us, their heroism and quick-thinking was all caught on video.
The details are slim beyond what can be gathered from the video clip above, but such scenes of dolphin landings are undoubtedly rare. The pod can be seen rapidly approaching from some distance out, perhaps corralling a school of fish, before crashing ashore seemingly unexpectedly. One possible explanation for the wash up may be navigational error; the beach where the incident occurred, Arraial do Cabo, lies on a thin strip of land jutting out along the otherwise relatively unvaried coastline which the pod might not have accounted for.
It may be impossible to tell for certain whether or not the dolphins would have managed to make it back to open waters on their own, but thankfully there were some heroic passersby on hand to ensure they all survived. Without hesitation, more than a dozen people joined in the effort to pull, scoot, and nudge the imperiled pod away from the shore to deeper waters.
Considering that dolphins and humans hail from different worlds, one might expect there to be little common ground shared among the two. Yet somewhere in that gradient divide between land and sea, it seems no insurmountable difference can be found at all -- just a helping hand if one strays too far.