More fun than you can shake a stick at

Here’s a dolphin show at a Thailand aquarium.  I love how the critters seem to be enjoying themselves immensely.  They seem utterly unforced in their antics.  Watch the video in full-screen mode for best results.

I have happy memories of dolphins playing in the bow wave of yachts and other small craft off the Cape Peninsula, in my younger days.



  1. Trained dolphins are impressive to watch but we don't really understand their psychology the way we ought to. It's too easy to look at them as very smart aquatic dogs, which they aren't. There's a body of myth surrounding them which doesn't bear serious examination.

    Interaction with wild dolphins can be very dark. Dolphin social behavior involves considerable sex play, including actions that in humans would be gang-rape, and they are not always particular about the species of the participants. The solitary social Dolphins that appear to seek out human company can be particularly unpredictable and sometimes violent.

    Dolphins are the closest we will come to an alien intelligence until the real thing arrives. We need to look beyond the acrobatics and see the mind.

  2. The best dolphin show I ever saw was in Bermuda in 1980. The trainer looked like a black version of Humphrey Bogart and he was followed around the porpoise enclosure by a troop of scruffy cats hoping for a fish.

    The show was amazing.


  3. When I was in the Navy I was assigned to a Destroyer Escort (now called a frigate in the US Navy) home ported in Naples, Italy. In good weather I would spend as much time on the bridge wing watching for Dolphins. It was always a joy to watch them play in the bow wake.

  4. And yet…

    I often wonder what's best for the dolphins. It's not like any of them are volunteers. Rusty is right about so much of dolphin behavior, but unspoken is the fact that they are WILD. They aren't like dogs, which have evolved as companions for us. That show could be the most stimulating thing they do all day; how many prisoners in "the yard" wouldn't agree with that?

    I don't want to idealize life in the ocean–certainly these dolphins will live longer than their kin in the wild, they'll never have to worry about predators, etc. And I'm as fascinated by them as anybody.

    And yet…


  5. Dolphins are probably the smartest creatures I've ever seen that interact with humans. They can have a human trained to stand at the end of a dock and throw fish in their mouths within minutes of meeting each other.

  6. Dolphins and other whales use sound as one of if not their primary sense. It's always seemed to me that being in a concrete pool must be a bit like being in a room completely covered with mirrors and the lights on all the time. I suspect that while they may live longer in captivity, they may also be mostly at least neurotic if not batshit crazy.
    The recent controversy at Seaworld tends to indicate that the whales are not all happy campers.

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