Eclectic, quirky, and sometimes edgy…this is how things look from my front porch.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Dolphins – God’s Most Intriguing Creatures

Years ago, I took one of those quizzes in a woman’s magazine. This quiz had the reader consider  choices if one only had six months to live.  I mentioned to my man that I would want to swim with the dolphins.  His response was, “Why wait until you know you’re going to die?”

I must have gotten Flipper on the brain from grade school when Flipper was a favorite in the Galvin household.  Flipper Intro

This is how I found myself a few months later at Dolphins Plus in Key Largo learning about dolphin behavior prior to diving into the lagoon with the dolphins.

Dolphins at this location are not captive. They stay there because they choose to. They are free to leave at any time.  Dolphins which perform in amusement parks are not given food until they complete the required task.  They no doubt find both this and unprotected behavior from humans highly stressful, because they die much younger under most captive situations than they do in the wild.  Dolphins at Dolphin’s Plus have a longer life expectancy because they are fed regardless of behavior. Any humans who attend programs there are educated about dolphin behavior and removed from the lagoon if they do not comply.

Dolphins travel using echo location which is accomplished via the rostrum (the bulbous part) of their heads.  Essentially, they are living, breathing ultrasound machines.  As such, they can “see” inside human beings.  The behaviorists who work at Dolphins Plus told us that in recent weeks the dolphins had eyed the mid-section of a woman repeatedly.  She called them a month later to advise that she had been in the early stages of pregnancy at the time and did not know it. They also paid close attention to a gentleman who had a knee replacement.

After the orientation, I sat on the small dock and considered that while Flipper was really cool, what was directly in front of me was a group of wild animals weighing around 800 lbs each.  I got nervous and was trying to talk myself into jumping in. Bruce, who is usually patient and kind, also knew we had only a short amount of time to be in the lagoon and unceremoniously pushed me in.  Don’t worry, I’m a good swimmer. I was just being Wilma Wimp Girl.

Once in, I had to orient myself to the strange humming and almost electrical buzzing underwater, which is the sound of the dolphins communicating with each other.  We had been told that they like to amuse themselves from time to time by “freaking out the human.”  Sensing my nervousness, they had some fun with me. 

They swim up to you at full speed, stop very suddenly directly in front of you, in a vertical position, and open their mouths, showing all their teeth.  This is not biting behavior, mind you, but simply trying to get a rise out of you.  They’re playful.  After they did this to me, there was plenty of dolphin “talk”…”Hey Mildred wasn’t that hilarious when she swallowed lagoon water down her snorkel?”- you know, typical dolphin high jinks.

The whole experience was one of those things one remembers for a lifetime.  I was honored that one of the dolphins allowed me to touch her. Dolphins feel like a hard-boiled egg with the shell removed, wet.  Made me think of nothing more than making a bunch of deviled eggs for a bbq.

This all brings me to today’s post and video.  A professional photographer and diver, Keller Laoros, who routinely dives with manta rays and takes pictures recently had an amazing experience in Hawaii.  A dolphin fouled in fishing wire approached him.  It was clear that the dolphin was in distress.  He stopped a short distance from Keller.  Keller made a “come here” gesture under water and the dolphin did so.  Keller used a diving knife to remove some of the fishing line.  The dolphin surfaced for air and returned to allow him to continue removing the fishing line.  When the man was done, the dolphin swam away.  A wild animal.  

Animals are filled with the grace of God, in my humble opinion.  I know that every day when Lulu snuggles with me in bed.  I knew that over the weekend when a pygmy goat sat in my lap out in the sunshiny backyard.  The Bible says that all creation gives God praise. 

Let heaven and earth praise him,
    the seas and all that move in them, Psalm 69:34

In the memorable words of radio Bible teacher Chuck Swindoll, “Anyone who believes that they are correct theologically by stating that there will be no animals in Heaven are going to have a surprise when they see that big white horse Jesus rides up in.”  Just sayin’.

1 comment:

Alex M said...

I want to do that too! Oh it sounds like so much fun. For now, I'll have to be satisfied with swimming with a dog -- but I keep thinking one of these days I'll have to do the dolphin thing!