Monday, March 17, 2008

When Life Needs Porpoise

My in-laws are coming to visit. Well, by "coming to visit", I mean that my wife and I and the kids will be joining them at an ocean-front condo here in the same state for several days, then we'll all come back to stay at our place before going yet somewhere else for a few days at yet another condo. Lots of traveling in a week's time.

But it's cool. I mean, even though I live just an hour or so from the ocean, I haven't actually gone to visit the ocean for nearly two years (yeah, believe it!) due to work and kids and stuff. And I get along great with my wife's family. I can't wait.

The really cool thing is that we've seen whales along the coast. We've missed the peak migration time this year, but you never know, maybe there'll be a few lame stragglers wondering why their pals have gone off and left them. Yeah, I relate to the geeks of any species.

I can hear it now. Some poor whale out there, swimming along the coast, saying in its sing-song echoing voice:

"Hey, guys, where'd you go? There's some really cool Euphausia pacifica swimming around near the surface. Guys? You wanna go back to my place and play some D&D?"

Of course, it'd be just my luck if the whales get beached by Navy sonar tests or something while I'm there. "Look, son, a majestic behemoth of the ocean! Let's marvel in its beauty and the sadness of its predicament. Now be a good boy and get the dynamite."

Even if a whale does get beached, though, it may do to have some dolphins around.

Dolphins have been known to help humans in trouble, but now a recent report suggests that one dolphin led a whale and its calf to safety after they had repeatedly beached themselves:

Moko, a bottlenose dolphin known for befriending humans in New Zealand (see picture), came to the assistance of a pygmy sperm whale and its calf. Human rescuers had tried to save the pair only to watch in despair as the whales were beached again and again on a sandbar. They were contemplating euthanasia for the whales, when the dolphin came in and showed the whales how to escape the sandbar back out to the open ocean, leading the way.

After the heroic dolphin led the pair to safety, Moko returned to the humans at the beach and played with them.

Now that's interspecies cooperation!

Makes ya feel like leaping and chattering, don't it? Throw that porpoise some anchovies, for cryin' out loud!

So I'll keep my eyes open for any whales and dolphins on our little vacation. In the meantime, buy some dolphin-safe tuna and think of the whales you may have saved.

And if you do see any beached whales and there aren't any dolphins around, just promise me you won't be like THIS JERK.

Addendum (3/24/08): It turns out the gray whale migration is in full swing, still. The cows and calves are currently moving up the Oregon coast. The vacation has gone well, but now my in-laws have come down with colds. Ugg.

Image taken from HERE.


Anonymous said...

Two words. "Blow hole."

Sparkling Red said...

It's great that you get along so well with your wife's family. Enjoy your vacation!

I have never had an encounter with a dolphin, but they are fascinating creatures. I would love to interact with a dolphin.

Anonymous said...

Dolphins and whales etc- great creatures- those Japanese and Norwegians still wanting to clobber them- nutso! There have been lots of Southern Right Whales along our local coast over summer, traveling from their calving site in the Great Australian Byte. I only see dolphins in the local shallow river, where there is a sanctuary and a local marine biologist has been protecting them for the last 20 years (Mike Bossley). We went swimming at Basham's Beach south of here last weekend and there were 3 small seals in the water, shooting waves with us. It was great and they were friendly, not bitey! Hope you had great experiences on your holiday! I'm more of a health/social scientist when I have a job!

Anonymous said...

Happy Egg Day!