Yesterday we hung out at the Dolphin Nursery at SeaWorld, and talked to the dolphin babies.
They would swim past, looking at us. “Hello,” we said, and waved. Sometimes they would stand on their tails to get a better look. Occasionally they talked, with their sharp buzzes and clicks, which they make in their nasal sac, and which are focused by the melon (the bulbous forehead of a dolphin). The clicks were sharp and piercing, even in air, which means they would be much more powerful in the water. I thought it was fascinating to hear dolphin language. I only wish I knew what they were saying. Apparently not much progress has been made on deciphering dolphin language (if there is one), although each dolphin does have a distinct name and voice, and they have been known to be able to learn an artificial language.
I noticed that adult dolphins often swim with their eyes closed. They don’t need visual sight, because they can “see” with their sonar. Only when they surfaced to look at us, did the adults open their eyes. The dolphin children seemed to use their eyes both under and above the water. I thought that was fascinating.
The juvenile dolphins became very excited and talkative when they saw a SeaWorld employee approach wearing a name tag. I imagine they thought he had food, because he was not their trainer. But alas, no food, and they quickly lost interest.
Stingray pups are very cute, but juvenile dolphins are more interesting because they are so intelligent. It was a pleasure to spend time with them.