The secret of the sea

My cousin Chris took this photo of his son Carlos with Bo, a female dolphin, at the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies in Gulfport, Mississippi, August 2014.

My cousin Chris took this photo of his son Carlos with Bo, a female dolphin,
at the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies in Gulfport, Mississippi, August 2014.

…my soul is full of longing
for the secret of the sea,
and the heart of the great ocean
sends a thrilling pulse through me.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The ocean is alluring, but it also can be quite intimidating.  So much of it is unseen, its secrets literally and figuratively unfathomable.  A great many of the creatures who live there can be unappealing or frightening.  Not so with the dolphins and porpoises, who are like friendly ambassadors presenting what looks like a smiling face to take the edge off the mystery.

As mammals who share many of our own traits– playfulness, communication, and a level of intelligence not found in most other sea creatures– dolphins and porpoises are endearing to almost everyone.  I’ve never had the privilege of swimming with one of them, though I know that those who do apparently find the experience totally delightful. Carlos certainly seems to be among them!

Many parents of children with autism and other disabilities believe that dolphin therapy is beneficial for those whose communication with humans is impaired or severely limited.  I can see how it would be therapeutic for almost anyone, as contact with any friendly or playful animal can be.  Just looking at this photo was so therapeutic for me that I simply had to post it here.

Thanks, Carlos and Chris, for sharing your dolphin encounter with us!

One year ago today:

Stimulating loneliness

And speaking of secrets of the sea, Sheila sent me this fabulous photo of her daughter Ashley posing with a local in the Outer Banks region of North Carolina.  Those of us who don’t eat seafood will be happy to know that Ashley released her fishy friend back into the sea whence it came.  Those of  you who do enjoy eating seafood may be thinking, “WHAT??”  😀 😀 😀

Ashley's catch-and-release

This post was first published seven years ago today. The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below. These links to related posts, and their thumbnail photos, do not appear in the blog feed; they are only visible when viewing the individual posts by clicking on each one. I have no idea why, nor do I know how they choose the related posts. That’s just the way WordPress does things.


  1. How on earth does someone hold onto a fish that size???
    I took my kids “swimming with the dolphins” in the Florida Keys. It was a memorable experience for all, even if I hadn’t purchased the CD of photos. I had one of the photos on our group enlarged almost to poster size. The look on each face as we met the first dolphin was truly priceless. There was a teenage girl that had been added to our family to make up the “group”, and I’ve often looked at her expression and wondered if she later went into marine biology or some related field.

    • It wouldn’t surprise me if she did. I know people whose personal view of animal rights does not even allow such encounters– they see such things as exploitive, but I want to ask them how they think we learned enough about animals to treat them in the most humane way possible? I am grateful for every opportunity– mine or someone else’s– to interact safely with the natural world. I do think such encounters change the way we see the world, and each other.

  2. I lived in Florida as a teenager and I go back every year because my dad still lives there. I love the Gulf Coast. I cannot stay depressed sitting on a deserted part of the beach and watch the waves and wildlife. Especially in the winter when there aren’t any tourists.

    • Yes, the Gulf Coast is definitely my favorite part of Florida. And like you, I think I love it best in winter.

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