Suspicious Swimmers

Part of our blog assignments allows us to choose some posts of ‘our choice.’ Since I am trying out this whole blogging thing, and not sure if it’s something I want to do…I thought I might as well throw some more personal stuff into the mix.

Recently, I have been reading the headline news online (abc, bbc, bangkok post, etc) and sharing the most hilarious and/or fascinating stories I encounter with anyone who seems interested. These last few weeks, however, I have been traveling and my Internet connectivity was severely limited (sad how this impacts us and we feel ‘cut off’ from the world when we can’t be connected). So I had to resort to the good old fashioned perusal of a real live hard copy newspaper.

My mother and I are sitting on the Seattle Ferry, sipping a latte and passing the paper back and forth, sharing little tid bits here and there. We happened to have grabbed a copy of the Kitsap Sun as my mother lives in Poulsbo, WA. As we’re leisurely enjoying our cup of joe, my mother suddenly begins to giggle quietly. Pretty soon she’s erupted into convulsive laughter that she’s trying to stifle, which is just resulting in an even more fantastic display of her choking on her fits of giggles. As I watch her body spasm with the force of her mirth, I begin to wonder if she is in need of medical attention. Finally she manages to choke out past the tears streaming down her cheeks “dolphins…gasp…handcuffs….gasp…intruders!” And then I lose her again for another fit of convulsions.

Eventually I managed to wrest the newspaper from her grip and determine the cause of her mirth. I find the article titled “Dolphin Patrols Pick Up Support” and quickly scan the print. I’m going to share with you some direct quotes from the article (I promise they are DIRECTLY quoted, I am not making this up…I’m not that clever really!):

“…opponents knitted sweaters, hats and mittens for the dolphins. They did so because they believed the warm-water mammals would get chilly swimming in Hood Canal.”

The article goes on the talk about the program that has been developed at the Bangor Naval Base and it’s use of marine life:

“The dolphins, accompanied by a handler in small power boats, work at night. If they find an intruder, they swim back to the boat and alert the handler, who places a strobe light on their nose. The dolphin races back and bumps the intruder’s back, knocking the light off. The light floats to the surface, marking the spot.”

Can you imagine? Out for a nice swim and suddenly a dolphin is whacking you on the back with a strobe light? Don’t worry, the program does not exclusively use dolphins. It has also recruited sea lions to assist in the protection against terrorism:

Suspicious Swimmer?
Suspicious Swimmer?

“Sea lions can carry in their mouths special cuffs attached to long ropes. If they find a suspicious swimmer, they clamp the cuff around the person’s leg. The intruder can then be reeled in for questioning.”

I’ve got to read the hard copy newspaper more often…this takes the cake! Just remember, if you do plan to swim in the Hood Canal, look as ‘un-suspicious’ as possible or you could find yourself wrangled by a sea lion. One has to wonder, what does a suspicious swimmer look like to a sea lion??

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