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HISTORY OF THE PLAYFUL PORPOISE in JUPITER / TEQUESTA

Posted by Nicole Richards on Wednesday, January 28th, 2015 at 4:14pm.

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During the 1960’s, the Loxahatchee River was filled with so many fish you could practically walk on them. The sea life was in its prime and the river had so much life to offer, but there was one sea mammal that was well-known throughout the area, a special dolphin that once lived in these fresh waters, not too far from the beautiful pristine beaches, by a tall red lighthouse, and close to the grassy flats. The local residents of Jupiter and Tequesta, Florida named this extraordinary Dolphin: “Georgie Girl.”

The South Florida locals shared their story of the playful porpoise!

Here is their story…

 Once upon a time, in the 1960’s, there was a family of eight dolphins who lived in the Loxahatchee River of Jupiter, Florida. They traveled around together hunting near the sharp oyster beds and frolicking near the bridges and the clear channels. Until one foggy day, during the year of 1966, the Miami Sea Aquarium went on a mission in search for the pod of dolphins. Finding the pod, their plan was to captivate and train these wild mammals to become show dolphins. One year later, the seven dolphins were sent to the World’s Fair in Montreal, Canada. They caught all but one desolate dolphin.

Sometime after, the poor abandoned porpoise bared itself up on a beach, on the property of a beachfront house and was in such a distressed state. Due to its condition, the Jupiter/Tequesta locals gave the dolphin the nickname of “Lonesome George.”  A year later, children of the town started to sight “Lonesome George” in the distance and noticed as time went on the dolphin got more comfortable and would clandestinely glide a bit closer to people wading in the water.

 Until one sunny afternoon, the dolphin decided the people were of no threat and became at ease sufficiently enough to swim to the children playing in the shallow waters. As soon as it reached the children, “Lonesome George” sunk its body to the bottom of the seafloor with a depth of about 3 feet of water, acting in a submissive and passive manner. Firstly assumed, the children picked up the dolphin to hold its blowhole above the water and the mother made an urgent call to the Miami Sea Aquarium to speak with the vet. The doctor responded with two conceivable signals of what this behavior meant. One, the dolphin was in very big trouble or two, it simply just wanted to make contact and join the fun. As the children interacted more with “Lonesome George’s” behavior, they decided to push the dolphin into deeper waters to understand his conduct a bit better and experiment the possibilities. A minute later, the dolphin popped back up to the surface and glided around the children. Therefore, the dolphin finally decided not to be so lonesome any longer and just wanted to play!

The playful porpoise’s nickname soon changed from “Lonesome George” to “Georgie Girl” which was a New Top 40 song that had recently tuned out on the radio during this time called, “Hey There, Georgie Girl!” and people soon figured out the playful dolphin was a female by turning on its back so his belly could be rubbed and after all she became pregnant. “Georgie Girl” became so comfortable with the friendly locals and was adored by all who she came in contact with! “Even after 40 years of looking at them they’re astounding animals, they’re beautiful, graceful, I guess they’re like people, they come in different moods.”  She would swim in the canals, where the gorgeous waterfront houses are located and smack her flipper on the water, a way for her to communicate and gain attention from the local families. She used to swim around for hours with the residents and tourists of Jupiter and Tequesta, Florida spinning, flipping around and incredibly would allow children to take turns riding on her dorsal fin as she circled around the waterways.

 After a while of fun, “Georgie Girl” would glide off to the other side of the Loxahatchee River to give all the children a chance to play with her.  She and her young offspring quickly became a very natural and familiar presence to all residents on the water. “Dolphins can understand artificial languages. They can understand abstract images. They can problem solve. These are skills that a lot of animals it turns out have but dolphins get a lot of press.” The children yearned and could not wait to run off the school bus, throwing books, bags, pencils, clothes and shoes all over the lawn, just to see “Georgie Girl” waiting for the students at the river. Even the dogs enjoyed the moments of excitement too! On the weekends, some families would take out their skiffs or small boats just to bang on the sides of the vessel or slap the water and wait for the special mammal to come and say hello. She also took great delight in flipping surfers over on their boards! She truly was such an inspiration and local Jupiter/Tequesta residents felt as if they were living in a fantasy or were on a real life TV Show such as “Flipper.”

Until one day, the playful porpoise that explored the town appeared no more. She had been killed and the death that was inflicted is still not known as the tide took the body of “Georgie Girl” and her young out to sea before conservationist could discover how the tragedy happened.

“Georgie Girl” will always be remembered and will remain in our thoughts forever!  

  

Thanks to all the Facebook members of Jupiter Old Days for their inspiration and contributions to this article. They got to experience something my generation only dreams about. If you would like to read their firsthand accounts the thread can be found here: http://www.facebook.com/groups/112366198792848/permalink/1011762195519906/ 

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