Dolphin escorts clubbed to death

THE savage clubbing to death of dozens of dolphins was the sorry finale of Frenchman Guy Delage's trans-Atlantic swim which ended last week in Barbados. The most compelling aspect to Mr Delage's adventure - plagued by media accusations that he was merely rafting and drifting across the ocean - were the hundreds of dolphins which befriended the 42-year-old swimmer and escorted him to the end.

For mile upon mile, the dolphins' company broke the monotony of the marathon swim. Depression, fatigue, loneliness and fear, he said, had been relieved by these creatures - for centuries regarded by seafarers as a propitious presence on a voyage.

When Delage triumphantly dragged himself from the water in wet-suit and flippers, a crowd of reporters and photographers was on hand to witness his arrival. But, before the Frenchman could dry off, Barbadian fishermen rushed into the bay and began clubbing the dolphins to death. In vain, Delage screamed his protests and waved his shark gun. The clubs continued to fall as the nets closed in. Within minutes, many of the trusting mammals were dead and the turquoise of Miami Bay was incarnadined.

"I felt sorry for the creatures I had led to their deaths," Delage said. "They were more than friends to me. When I saw them being massacred, that really made me mad."

The fishermen were mystified by the Frenchman's anguish. Dolphin steaks are a popular dish in Barbados and elsewhere in the Caribbean, and Delage's former companions were soon cut up and eaten by the islanders.

That was not the only disappointment that landfall held for Delage, who set off on his adventure from the Cape Verde Islands on 16 December. A large wave smashed his raft into a reef, causing him to break a toe. His sponsors, who have an exclusive deal with the swimmer, then refused to allow a mob of French press to interview him, sparking angry scuffles on the beach.

And some observers continued to downplay his achievement, claiming he had been helped by trade winds and ocean currents. Delage, from Nantes in western France, estimates that he swam about a third of the distance, spending the rest of the time drifting on the13-ft raft - a fairly sophisticated craft equipped with a satellite dish and a fax.

The French press remains sharply divided over his voyage. France- Soir headlined him "Super-Delage", but the rival Liberation declared: "The only real exploit has been the way in which the commercial sponsors and their press teams have managed to get this whipped cream of an event to rise at all."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own