My wife, Trish, and I set off at 5.30 am in Kaikoura, on the south island of New Zealand. We had been disappointed in past dolphin tours, but this area of the world has an incredible number of these adorable creatures. Dolphins need at night in a co-operative manner making sure that everyone gets to eat. Each dolphin may consume up to 30 lbs of fish a day. We had three hours of watching and interacting with these delightful and intelligent creatures. Later, I thought about the experience. I am not the first human to think that we can learn from them.
Co-operation: We live in a world where famine and poor nutrition affects the vast majority of the world. We have the resources to feed everyone. We don’t. Dolphins co-operate in finding food for everyone. They hunt in pods – everyone eats. I may be simplifying this comparison, but we live in a dog-eat-dog world. Food is controlled, manipulated, stolen, resold and destroyed for greed and profit. There are great organizations working to bring food and seeds to the needy but it’s a war zone. I recently heard of a large tomato conglomerate that is buying up the seeds. They sell to developing countries but the seeds have been so ‘doctored’ that the poor people can only get one crop. If there is drought or floods then the farmer has to buy a new set of seeds.
The Kindness Factor: They communicate using a variety of clicks, whistle-like sounds and other vocalizations. The tourists and Trish and I found ourselves imitating them, singing to them and just losing ourselves in their world. They are known to be kind and will stay with injured or ill individuals, even helping them to breathe by bring them to the surface if needed. Their kindness factor is also extended to other marine species.
Not Quite Perfect: Dolphin males do fight with one another for females. Some male bottlenose dolphins have engaged in infanticide. Again, it’s the males!
The Happiness Factor: We were watching Dusky Dolphins. There are 32 marine species of dolphin and 4 species that live in rivers. We watched these 2m size beauties leap as high as 30 feet in the air and turn and do tricks. I think they were trying to get a better look at us. lol. The tourists including Trish and myself began to interact with them. We sang and made noises and the dolphins came close and sang back. Thank you, ellen and others, for encouraging us to dance, sing and be kind to one another.
Heading Back to Shore: As we huddled over hot chocolate, tourists from all over the globe had happiness in their eyes. We chatted easily as a family. Together we had shared a wonderful experience.