Elvis Black and his friend Brian Crosby were preparing for the Phantom Bass tournament on the Waccamaw River in Conway, South Carolina when they found a beached porpoise and came to his rescue. The porpoise was stuck in the mud along the riverbank and not moving so the friends took their boat over to see if the dolphin was still alive and thankfully he was still breathing.
“The dolphin was kinda buried in the mud with his face in a wallowed out hole,” Black wrote on Facebook. So he jumped out of the boat and slowly walked through the thick mud to free him. It took a few tugs and rolling him over, but Black finally managed to get the porpoise back into the water. Once the porpoise was back in deeper water he went on his way. Black said, “He swam off so hopefully he wasn’t to weak and lived!”
As they watched the animal swim off they gave each other a high five and proclaimed “Score ‘one’ for the good guys.”
Black later shared the video of their rescue and wrote, “Brian Crosby and I have been fishing 30+ years together and this was a first for us! The dolphin was a long ways from salt water! Let’s hope the fishing God’s reward us with 5 big bass tomorrow for helping Flipper back in the water!”
Black and others identified the cetacean as a dolphin, not a porpoise as people often interchange the two. But dolphins and porpoises are different species. Dolphins tend to have prominent, elongated beaks and cone-shaped teeth, while porpoises have smaller rounded mouths and spade-shaped teeth with triangular dorsal fins.
South Carolina has a variety of dolphin and porpoises that are prevalent inshore and offshore. Atlantic bottlenose dolphins tend to be the most common with inshore dolphins living in bays, lagoons and estuaries. The offshore cetaceans often migrate north and south during the year to follow prey.
Black’s rescue of the dolphin reminds us of the rescue of a dolphin that also got stuck in the mud and whistled to a man for help.