Winter has a fan club that stretches from babes in arms to seniors in wheelchairs.
She is not a famous Hollywood talk show host, nor is she a singer with a stack of Grammy awards. Winter is a movie celebrity, starring in the main role of a dolphin movie. It is the true story of Winter who was found tangled in fishing nets. So severe were her injuries that she lost her tail. Now, that should be the end of the story except for a young boy who bonded with Winter and the folks at Clearwater Marine Aquarium who rescue animals.
In March 2013, my partner and I arranged to visit Winter. We bought her story on dvd “A Dolphin’s Tale” and we were hooked. The only part of the movie that isn’t true, is connected to a rich entrepreneur who states that he will fund the aquarium. Clearwater Marina relies solely on public funding. It is a wonderful tour. We took it during the American Spring Break and even with the throngs of school children, there was ample room to look at Winter and the other dolphins and view the many displays. As part of the package, a trolley ride is included. This ride takes visitors over a high bridge where the ocean is visible. On the way back, you can opt to take the trolley or a free boat ride. We took the boat ride and thoroughly enjoyed the wind in our faces.. This was a chance to see how ‘the other half’ lives: fashionable homes with manicured lawns, yachts and boats anchored at docks.
Back to the main attraction – Winter. We watched the trainers put Winter and her companion Panama through a series of physiotherapy moves. Winter needs her tail strengthened because she cannot wear her prosthetic tail for long. When she is without the prosthetic tail, her swimming puts pressure and her movements tend to bend the injured tail. We never saw her swim with her tail, but let me tell you she can move and is full of joy. She waves to the audience and loves to play with Panama. They take turns stealing water toys from one another.