For thousands of years the dolphin has been a symbol, that in Greece has played an important role in the cultural and artistic heritage of its people and for them, it represents an expression of freedom and beauty. No other animal on the planet has had such a magical connection with humans.
Since ancient times the dolphin’s lack of aggression, sense of fun and ability to contact the deepest human emotion and spirit has become legendary. Dolphins are mammals from the whale porpoise family known as cetaceans, which scientists believe may have evolved from early land mammals that returned to the sea.
Their skeletons have uncanny similarities to ours and they have a complex language, each dolphin having a personal signature tune as unique as a fingerprint. Although they are quite large and powerful animals, there have been no reports of any unprovoked attacks on humen, but however many have been known to kill a shark with a single blow.
Dolphins will allow people to grasp their strong dorsal fin for a ride, carry children on their backs and even leap out of the water next to swimmers. There have been numerous instances of dolphins saving peoples lives, from fishermen to swimmers, divers and windsurfers. In the last decade dolphins have even been used in the treatment of depression. International Dolphin Watch, an organisation established to protect these mystical creatures, believe it is essential for the overall well being of dolphins that they be able to breed, feed and roam in their natural environment.
Unfortunately through the polluting of the Mediterranean as well as the excessive fishing with the use of fine filament nets, the dolphin population has been drastically reduced and is continuing to do so in the sea surrounding Greece. Nowhere is this more evident than around Kefalonia, where in the past dolphins were quite common, chiefly in the deep waters between Ithaki and Zakynthos. Nonetheless dolphins are still seen following boats to and from these islands and a small group can usually be found in the Argostoli bay, especially around the fish farm area. It is hoped that with the tighter environmental control and stricter regulations from the EEC and the Greek government, particularly concerning fishermen, we will once again see these magnificent animals thrive.