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Pelorus Jack

Pelorus Jack was a Risso’s dolphin who was famous for helping guide ships through a dangerous stretch of water in New Zealand known as French Pass. The legend of Pelorus Jack states that, back in the late 1800’s, Jack would appear whenever a ship approached the straight, and would help guide the ship through the treacherous rocks and currents into Pelorus harbor. Legend tells that a drunken passenger on a steamboat called Penguin once shot Jack with a rifle. After that, Jack would never appear to help guide the Penguin into harbor, although he still helped other ships. Ironically, the Penguin was wrecked years later while trying to navigate French Pass without Jack’s help. No ship ever wrecked in the pass when Jack was there to guide them. Jack was spotted regularly for over 25 years before disappearing in 1912 – presumably having died of old age.

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