New sighting of Fungie the dolphin reported after fears he was missing
It would appear the famous Fungie the dolphin isn't ready to bid farewell to Dingle just yet.
Reports of two sightings of Fungie the dolphin have emerged in the last 24 hours after growing fears that the most beloved sea creature in Ireland was missing.
On Thursday evening, it was widely reported that Fungie hadn’t been seen for two days, prompting a number of boats to search the Dingle harbour area for his whereabouts.
Fearing the worst, Jeannine Masset and Rudi Schamart, well known for visiting Fungie on an almost-daily basis for the best part of the last three decades and who post pictures of the dolphin on the Fungie Forever Photos of the Dingle Dolphin Facebook page, posted that “it looks like we may have lost our best friend".
"We all keep hoping for a miracle, but the bay feels really empty without him,” the post read.
“As you will understand, we are very upset for it looks like we may have lost our best friend."
Very late on Thursday night, however, a post on the same page read: “Important update. We just got word that Fungie was seen this morning and this evening by Skipper Paul Hand as he went out early this morning and came back late this evening.”
15th October 2020... IMPORTANT UPDATE...... WE JUST GOT WORD THAT FUNGIE WAS SEEN THIS MORNING AND THIS EVENING BY SKIPPER PAUL HAND.... as he went out early this morning and came back late this evening....
A tweet was also posted about the Fungie sightings by The Skipper, a leading commercial fishing publication in Ireland and the UK.
— The Skipper (@SkipperEditor) October 15, 2020
Confirming the sighting to RTÉ, meanwhile, Skipper Paul Hand said: "I am one thousand percent certain it was Fungie. I've been looking at him for the last 40 years. It was definitely him. He swam alongside my boat for a spell as I headed out in to the bay".
Suggesting that the presence of other bottlenose dolphins in the area may have sparked uncertainty about Fungie's whereabouts, Hand added: "There's a share of other bottlenose dolphins out in the bay at the moment because the place is full of sprat. I saw at least five or six of them out there yesterday.
"There's a lot of feeding going on and what's happening is Fungie is following the fishing boats out in to the bay and is deciding to stay feeding with the other dolphins. He is enjoying the company."
To call Fungie a national treasure would almost be to underestimate his place in the hearts of the people of Dingle and beyond.
He first arrived in Dingle way back in 1983 and has been arguably the town’s most popular resident since. He is believed to be at least 45 years old; bottlenose dolphins have lifespans of up to approximately 50 years.
In 2019, Fungie entered the Guinness Book of Records after being recorded as the longest-living solitary dolphin in the world.
And hey, when Hollywood movie stars are talking about you, as Bryce Dallas Howard was to Rory Cashin prior to the release of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom a couple of years back, you know you’ve really made it…