In an extraordinary display of nature's magic, the waters of Buccaneer Bay came alive today with an unexpected and heartwarming surprise â a dolphin swimming amongst the cool waters of Weeki Wachee Springs State Park's lazy river run.
"A playful dolphin decided to join swimmers today on the lazy river float and one of our staff was lucky enough to capture the encounter." a post shared to Instagram 2 hours ago reads, in part. The post is accompanied by a short video clip of the dolphin gliding through the park's crystal clear waters between a smattering of people on their inner tubes.
The video of the once-in-a-lifetime spotting can be seen below or by clicking here:
What lead this dolphin up the several-mile spring run is unknown; however, one commenter speculated that the dolphin may be seeking out the crisp coolness that the spring's waters offer as ocean temperatures reach record highs.
According to reporting from CBS News in July, the months of May and June saw all-time highs, with the ushering in of El NiÃ±o bringing warmer than average sea surface temperatures to the North Atlantic in 2023.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) warned that approximately half of the world's oceans â compared to a normal rate of about 10% â may experience marine heatwave conditions by September 2023. They say its effects could stretch into 2024.
The higher-than-normal temperatures have also been said to be responsible for the devastating bleaching of essential coral reefs, which experts say could leave coral and the marine life that inhabit them vulnerable to a host of deadly diseases. These coral-based ecosystems act as nurseries for many species of fish.
To learn more about coral bleaching, click here.
Article by Rachael Volpe