I have been known to have what is called
“an NPR moment.” Perhaps you have, too. An NPR moment is when you pull
into your driveway, but the segment airing on National Public Radio is
simply too good; as a result, you sit in your car until the segment is
finished. I have actually become so absorbed in an NPR moment that I forget
to fully turn off the car when I go inside. The next day, I’m forced to
search for someone with a battery charger, who knows how to use it.
Recently, NPR bestowed upon me the —
dare we say — “thrust,” of this month’s column: dolphins.
No, not the Miami Dolphins; rather, the
dolphins that swim off the Miami shore, and in other oceans of the world.
What piqued my interest was a brief bit
about “Georges,” a dolphin of no little fame off the coast of Dorset,
Swimmers, especially those of the female
persuasion, are being warned to stay out of the sea. It seems that Georges,
who weighs about 400 pounds, is seeking a mate. Trolling the sandbars, if
you will. Looking for love.
Dolphins, you may know, are some of this
planet’s most intelligent mammals. Their brains, by the way, are even
larger than those of humans. Perhaps dolphins are the smartest mammals, and
we’re just not smart enough to realize it.
“Georges” — a French name,
wouldn’t you know — is apparently lurking in the shallows off the Dorset
coast, and foisting his amorous attentions upon female swimmers. According
to the NPR report, “He won’t take ‘no’ for an answer.”
One female pundit on the show opined,
“Maybe the Dorset tourism bureau should use this as a promotion, rather
than a warning.”
Imagine. A host of lonely female
tourists, flocking to Dorset, thong bikinis in hand, to seek the attentions
of an intelligent, 400-pound Frenchman who won’t take “no” for an
answer. It could be England’s answer to the Cote d’Azur.
I’ve always wanted to visit the
English coast. Perhaps now I’ll forego the White Cliffs of Dover for the
action along the Dorset shore. Who knows what sights I might see!
I have actually been swimming with
dolphins. None of them,
Now that I learn of Georges, I am led to
wonder just what all the chatter and chuckling was about.
Flipper: “Hey, this one seems
Winky: “Yeah, and check out that pink
bikini. Think she’s looking for love?”
Georges: “Oui, but in all ze wrong
(The dolphins chuckle good-naturedly at
Georges’ bon mot.)
When I was working for Treasure Salvors,
we had a “pet” of sorts at the wreck site, about 40 miles out to sea.
His name was Ralph. He was a barracuda.
Ralph was about six feet long, which is
pretty hefty for that species. And if there could ever be such a thing as a
benign barracuda, it was Ralph. He would hang out with us while we combed
the seabed for gold, silver, emeralds or, more often the case, pottery
As the days, weeks and months wore on,
Ralph grew larger. He seemed to measure about eight feet the last time I saw
him. Then again, the size of things tends to be magnified underwater. It’s
no wonder Ralph kept growing. He’d feast nightly on the garbage the guys
threw overboard after dinner.
Garbage, we figured, was biodegradable.
Turns out, Ralph glommed up the garbage before it ever had a chance to
biodegrade. Little did we know, Ralph wasn’t the only scavenger circling
our boat every night. One morning we caught a 17-foot tiger shark. After we
hung him upside down, portions of our dinners for the last week spilled onto
the deck. So did a license plate from Mississippi. And a four-foot black-tip
shark, minus the head. And part of a yellow slicker.
After we each had our photo taken
alongside the grinning, dead beast, we each came up with a reason why we
couldn’t dive that day. Earaches. Sinus problems. Pressing business back
on shore. The old Mafia adage notwithstanding, I’d give anything to swim
with the fishes again. Perhaps a trip to merry England is in order.