We’ve all heard stories of seafaring creatures banding together to rescue those stranded out in the middle of the ocean, but this most recent story covers a pod of star struck porpoises who assembled around Dick Van Dyke as he was surfing and rescued him when he drifted out of sight from land.
The porpoises gathered around his board as he awoke to realize he was far from land and pushed him back in a scene that seems like it would be right at home in Mary Poppins. Had, however, the development occurred in Diagnosis Murder, also starring Dick Van Dyke, writers would have likely suggested it to be a deus ex machina plot device too out there to be believed. And thus the animal kingdom does its share to help prove that truth truly is stranger than fiction.
The 84 year old actor first thought the creatures swimming around him had been sharks and immediately thought his end had come. But when he realized they were simply porpoises pushing him uniformly back to dry land, he couldn’t believe his eyes. We’ve all heard of celebrities using their star power to save animals over the years, but it seems the celebrities too seem to have fans outside the normal crowds.
Perhaps the most interesting point of Dick Van Dyke’s rescue is that mere months before he had worked up quite a bit of Karma in the animal kingdom after being named an official year of the Tiger ambassador for the World Wilflife Fund. Dick’s work to save animals is by no means a secret. And costar of the Dick Van Dyke show, Mary Tyler Moore has for years been an outspoken advocate for animal rights. And so it seems only natural that these animals, upon seeing his plight would wish to return the favor for doing so much for the animal world. Of course there’s no real way of knowing why the porpoises rescued him, but the idea of them repaying the favor certainly sounds good.
And yet it’s not entirely unheard of for lost fishermen to be rescued or at least assisted by creatures of the ocean. Even Greek mythology shares stories of dolphins who rescued heroes while on seafaring quests. Tales of fishermen being blown out to see or on sunken ships being guided and even carried by dolphins have been around for centuries. And in 2004 several swimmers were rescued from a Great White shark by dolphins who attacked the creature and put themselves in danger in order to save the swimmers in New Zealand. And the dolphins then swam around the potential shark attack victims until they were able to escape with their lives. And this isn’t the only case such as this. Dolphins are said to protect people with surprising regularity when obvious danger affects swimmers, surf boarders, and fishermen. In all cases, the motives of the creatures were left unknown. Is there compassion in these intelligent creatures betraying a complex sentience? Or is it simply an instinct they show that allows them to intervene and rescue others not of their species?