Porpoise protectors?

From today’s Twitterverse: Apparently Dick Van Dyke fell asleep on a surfboard

Perhaps Dall's porpoises, found off the coast of Southern California, helped the beloved Chitty Chitty Bang Bang star?

and woke up to no land in sight, but fins all around. The fins belonged to a group of porpoises that pushed the actor back to dry land.

~~ What’s the news here, that Dick Van Dyke was surfing at 84, or porpoises saved his life? http://bit.ly/cfBTiY @stevesilberman ~~

The tweet links to a story from the Guardian, which is brief and leaves out a couple details. Van Dyke recounted the story to Late Late Show host Craig Ferguson, and if you watch the clip, you’ll see Van Dyke’s surfing days are a thing of the past. Whether or not he was hanging ten as an octagenarian, it’s still quite a story to be pushed to safety by a group of mereswine.

Yes, mereswine. Fastforward to 08:35 for the surfing story.

Makes you wonder, is this just a fun, embellished tale of friendly animals for the Mary Poppins fans in the audience? Who knows, but it isn’t the first report of people being rescued by our cetacean friends.

In 2004, a group of dolphins encircled four people swimming off the coast of New Zealand, protecting them from a great white shark that had come to visit, reported the Guardian. The swimmers, unaware of the shark at first, tried to get out of the dolphin ring but were herded back into the middle. The dolphins stuck around for 40 minutes until the shark left and the lucky humans could get back to shore. 

A bottlenose dolphin. Amusing tricks, language, tool use, and rescue missions? What can't they do? Image credit: NASA

In 2007, Surfer Todd Endris was aided by a pod of bottlenose dolphins while being attacked by a great white not too far from Slug headquaters. Endris was surfing near Monterey when he was bit in the back and the right leg, reported MSNBC.

A nearby group of dolphins then surrounded Endris, allowing him to get back on his surf board and return to shore.

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