Dutch Couple Find Solace in Dingle's Fungie the Dolphin
Dutch couple Jeannine Masset and Rudi Schamhart, now living in Annascaul have been regular visitors to Dingle’s most famous resident Fungie for the past 21 years.
Jeannine started coming to Ireland with her parents in 1962 when she was two years old and continued to do so several times a year.
‘I absolutely loved this country and felt so at home here, and I grew up with the idea that we would move over here soon. It was my dad’s intention and it was daily talk in the family. But then my father got really sick and somehow his dream ended there. But not for me, for my heart was here constantly and so were my thoughts’ Jeannine told WorldIrish.
Below, Rudi and Fungie share a kiss, ‘It was not really clear to me who was kissing who here….’ says Jeannine.
To them, Fungie is a very special creature with a close connection to their hearts; ‘He trust us and we trust him. We always let him decide what he wants to do. He is the boss and we call ourselves pretty lucky that he loves to spent so much time with us. We also love to share this fun, for it is so unique and not everybody has the chance to see this. We always say, shared fun is double the fun.’
They even named their dinghy after him says Jeannine. Nearly every day, weather permitting, Jeannine and Rudi head out and spend an hour or so with the famous dolphin.
Below, Jeannine and Fungie having a good time:
But why create a fanpage? ‘I started this fanpage because I had so much information and photos of Fungie and because I get very upset about the slaughterings of dolphins and the captivity of dolphins. So I combine the page with bringing awareness about this. We have fantastic responses from all over the world and we have fans from all over the world, even from Japan and from the Faroe islands. Fungie is a free dolphin and he has made hundreds of thousands of people happy and that is his gift to everyone. He is our ambasador for free dolphins’ says Jeannine.
‘Rudi (has been a printer all his life) is 72 now….but he has the spirit of a young fellow. I am 20 years younger and have been struggling with serious healthproblems for many years. Somehow Fungie has kept us going…’ Jeannine said.
‘Fungie has enriched our lives and we want to give something back to him by offering our friendship and companionship to him and he lets us know over and over again that he really appreciates it.’
Jeannine and Rudi have over a thousand photos of Fungie and update their fanpage regularly. You can see more great images of Fungie here.