Thursday, March 8, 2007

Oline the Dolphine (and the Can-can from hell!)

So, three nights ago (yup, the internet's been erratic these past few days) we did a full-length show with only 2 female dancer-ensemble members out of 4. Trying to cover a stage in a Can-can that's usually comprised of 4, screaming, kicking, skirt-shaking dancers takes some doing! It was the hardest show I ever did, due to extra parts I had to learn, including a rhumba where I had to hold metres-worth of my skirt during partnering to avoid falling down. But also, as my female line-captain agreed (the only lady who could empathise as she was the only one going through it with me!), it was an also a great buzz when we got through the 2nd show. We did it!

Anyway, 2 days ago was Dolphin day! I nearly missed it due to the fact I forgot there was a tender-boat ride involved in getting to the gangway in Cabo San Lucas (I know, I'm stupid, but when you're on the 2 hour library shift in the morning, you don't get to look outside!) but I made it.

Once inside, after signing various I-won't-sue-if-a-dolphin-eats-me waivers, you're given a wristband to put you into groups of 8. Ours was the grey group, or "gris" as our reserved table in the waiting area said. Benita, a friend informed me that this means "pig" in Swedish, so yup, I was in the Pig Group to swim with the dolphins. We were given the option of wetsuits, an option I'm glad I went for as it got pretty nippy after an hour in the water.

Eventually we were led in our groups to various points around a big lagoon pool. 6 dolphins came out and jumped high out of the water for us for a while (the equivalent of their Can-Can for the afternoon) and then Julio our dolphin trainer introduced us to our dolphin. Her name was Oline, and she was the oldest (at 26, pretty old for a dolphin) heaviest and bestest dolphin they had at Cabo Dolphin, according to Julio.

After showering, we jumped in the water and Oline swam slowly around us and through our group of paddling bodies, letting us pat her. Clayton, one of our acapella singers, said she felt like a giant hotdog, and I have to say it's not a bad descrition.

For the next hour, we hugged, kissed, danced with and got a ride on the dorsal fin of Oline. She danced while we sang Shakira (apparently her favourite singer) and we fed her food from our mouth!

Ocassionally I was struck with the notion of cruelty, I mean, how many times already today had these intelligent creatures performed in this way for groups of smiling tourists like us?

I did learn that baby dolphins have whiskers! They lose them as they grow older.

It was all very up-close, Oline hung around us very near at all times, but, clever girl that she is, she knew that's where her food was coming from.

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