Thursday 10 November 2011

Sea World-Orlando

The light house at the gate of Sea World in Orlando has sketches of Shamu, the killer whale and the anticipation  of actually seeing an Orca  killer whale  starts the thrill which stays with you till you come out of the Shamu stadium.
Sea World Lighthouse, Orlando
 Having obtained the passes for the Shamu show ,we had 4 hours to kill and went around the Sea World.
Dolphin Tank, Sea World ,Orlando 
The most interesting was the Dolphin  Enclosure and we could see the Dolphins actively and briskly going about their antics. Occasionally trainers would come with fish, whistle (soundless) some commands which would be dutifully followed and the performers would get their fishy reward. 

Dolphins At seaworld,Orlando
The tanks in Sea World are transparent and upon going underground you can watch the Dolphins closely. For some reason one gets the distinct feeling that the Dolphins are actually watching you and sometimes come close to the wall to have a closer look at some person who interests them. maybe it was my imagination running wild.
Laziest Marine, Sea World,Orlando
In sharp contrast to the frisky dolphins was another marine animal who just eats from birth to death and grows in weight and size to more than 4 tons. This one dislikes,no,  just hates making any kind of movement at all.
Penguins at Sea World, Orlando
We moved on and entered a dark building which was the home of the Penguins.  The conditions inside the glass enclosure are maintained exactly like the south pole where the penguins have their natural abode.  The flightless birds are actually quite playful -i think Happy Feet is not too much of an exaggeration -and one can spend hours just watching them.Since the enclosure is brightly lit and the viewers are in darkness, the Penguins are oblivious to the viewer's presence and behave naturally, sometimes playing pranks on each other.  By now it was time for our Shamu show and we proceeded to the Shamu stadium.
Shamu Stadium,Sea World,Orlando
The stadium was huge with a massive glass tank in the middle. We were offered  blue parkas but we declined, much to our regret later. Soon Shamu the orca was entering the tank and a collective gasp went up. One cannot imagine the sheer size of the animal which weighs 6000 kg while the trainer would have weighed a maximum of 60kg. It is indeed remarkable that humans  can control an animal 100 times their weight. The show started with the trainer standing on the nose of the Orca which was swimming under water-we could see them because the walls of the tank were transparent-at a high speed, the trainer's long hair trailing behind her. After one speedy round Shamu came up to the surface, the standing  trainer slowly emerging from the water, slowing down, and Shamu carefully and gently  tossed her on to the side of the pool . Suddenly all of Shamu's gentleness disappeared and he jumped up in the air to crash  back in the water with 6 tonnes of water(equal to his weight) being splashed on to the spectators properly drenching their clothes . We understood what the blue parkas were about. By now there were several orca in the tank each performing various tricks and getting rewarded with fishy treats. In one particular trick two orca came half out of water resting their front halves on a small ledge. The trainer broke out into a jig and the Orca pair followed suit to the accompaniment of suitable music. The trainers were by education Doctorates in Marine Psychology and through years of experience could understand the  moody and temperamental Orcas. In fact there seemed to exist a special bond between the Orca and their handlers. However in 2010 we came to know that one of the trainers had been dragged down to the bottom of the same tank and not released till she died. We could recognize her picture. After the incident  the handlers and orca do not enter the same tank together.
Our particular show ended abruptly with the Orcas not responding to the calls and whistles of the handlers. The handlers apologized for the abrupt ending ,at the same time explaining that the Orca is by nature  moody and once they decide not to perform, no amount of enticement can turn them around. Punishment of course is out of question because, besides being unethical, where would you find somebody  who would administer it.


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