The Holeyfin Lineage

Nicky is the daughter of Holeyfin – one of the first dolphins to visit the beach and accept fish from humans. Nicky, named for the nick in her dorsal fin, was born in 1975 and is one of the most reliable beach dolphins in the history of Monkey Mia! She visits the beach almost everyday, even during mating season! Nicky and Puck, the two main beach females, get along reasonably well, but they still occasionally get into spats. Puck, unlike Nicky, is well integrated into the Red Cliff Bay larger community of females.

Nicky’s younger sister, Joy, born in 1979, rarely visits the beach or spends time with her older sister. Even after both Joy and Nicky began having calves, they still spent little time together.

Nicky’s first daughter Nipper was lost during the same septic incidence as Bibi and his friends in ’89; Nipper was just over one year of age. Nicky’s second calf Finnick had the misfortune of being hand fed at a very young age. Regular provisioning made Finnick dependent on humans for food, and apparently unwilling to catch his own fish. He became emaciated and died one year after he was weaned. Nicky’s next born son Nakita died in 1994, before the beach feeding policies were changed. 

Nicky’s fourth calf Holikin was born in August of 1995 and was successfully weaned at 32 months, the youngest age recorded for the beach dolphins. Holikin, named after his grandmother Holeyfin, was small but energetic. Up until 2003, he was often seen hanging out in Red Cliff Bay with other young males. However, Holikin has not been seen since and it is thought that he, like most of Nicky’s calves, has died too. 

Nomad was born to Nicky in November of 1998. While he was still nursing, he had a tendency to wander hundreds of meters away from his mother- hence the name “Nomad”. Like Holikin, Nomad was small, which was readily apparent when he swam next to his best friend Sparky, who was much larger even though they were born only a few days apart. Nomad died in 2002 just after his third birthday.

In December 2002, right around the same time that Puck had Wada, Nicky had another calf, who was named Yadgalah, the Aboriginal word for “friend”. Yadgalah was successfully weaned in 2006, but disappeared a few years later. On Christmas Day of 2006, Nicky gave birth to a son, Yule, who only lived for a few months. In summer 2008 she gave birth to her newest calf, a girl named Fin, who accompanied her mum to the beach almost every day. Fin has now been weaned and enjoys playing with her friends from the beach and occasionally ventures down east to socialize with non-provisioned dolphins. Nicky gave birth to another daughter, Missel, in November of 2012. Sadly Nicky passed away in 2015 at the age of 39, and without her mother Missel died a few days later. She is survived only by daughter, Fin, and her grand-niece, Blimey.

Sisters Joy and Nicky swimming with baby Yadgalah, Nicky’s calf.
Photo Credit: Jana Watson-Capps