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OC woman, dolphin reunite after 5 years

January 31, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
Coley Pittman has watched the video of her recent trip to Ireland over and over again, and she smiles every time.

Pittman just returned from Dingle, a town of 1,900 people, 500,000 sheep and one dolphin named Fungi.

"He's known as a solitary dolphin, which means he doesn't seek interaction with other dolphins, he only seeks interaction with humans," said Pittman, a dolphin enthusiast. "There aren't a lot of dolphins like that around the world."

Pittman first visited Fungi 12 years ago.

She went back several more times and started swimming with the wild, 12-foot bottlenose dolphin.

The two created a most unusual bond that was never more evident than two weeks ago when Pittman returned to Dingle for the first time in five years.

One call of her voice and Fungi popped right out of the water.

"I did the call and he popped up immediately," said Pittman with a big smile.

Pittman put on her wetsuit and jumped into the icy cold waters. For the next 90 minutes, Pittman and Fungi were reunited.

"I feel like there was a connection there," she said. "I don't know how to explain it. I know a lot of people think it's crazy."

Fungi has been the star attraction in Dingle for more than 25 years.

People from around the world have come to see him, but even the locals say they've never seen the wild dolphin act like he does when Pittman comes to town.