High Seas

Today we interacted with real live captive dolphins in Cozumel Mexico. It was pretty cool. I estimate dolphins to be about as smart as the smartest dogs. These were bottlenosed dolphins, raised in captivity, which means they have never known life at sea and likely could not survive in the wild. Their enclosure was not very big and that made me sad. But they were fun animals. I learned that although they have teeth, they do not use them to chew food, which they swallow whole. The teeth are primarily used for defense and dominance displays. Dolphins can make a lot of sounds with their blowholes. Their skin is leathery and they are born with notches on the back of their dorsal fins that are unique to each animal, the way thumbprints are in humans. This can be used for identification, presuming you know what you are looking for. Male dolphins retract their penises into a recess on their undersides when not in use, to maintain streamlining. Female dolphins have retractable mammary glands for nursing their young, for the same reason. Dolphins have tiny ears but excellent hearing. Sometimes dolphins play too rough and start to actually fight, explaining the gouges and scratches on their bodies.

The place where we saw the dolphins also offered snorkeling in another area (sans dolphins), but it was pretty lame compared to the snorkeling excursion in Belize a couple days ago. The gear was cheap and we were restricted to a pretty small enclosed area. There were a few schools of cool fish there, but nothing awesome. There were some stingrays cruising around, but they were not very interesting. No sharks...bummer.

The Dolphinarium did offer free authentic Mexican food and drink with the price of admission, so that was cool. We soon discovered that this was underwritten by exorbitantly overpriced photos for sale of Deborah and I posing with dolphins (which we of course bought!). I had a tequila sunrise and Deborah ordered a pina colada; later we both had a mudslide. The food was OK.

On our way back to the cruise ship, we navigated the throngs of merchants selling "authentic, handmade" Mexican trinkets and Deborah haggled us a few of these Chinese made wares to bring back as souvenirs. They were kind of cool items.

Once back on the ship, I power walked a 5k on the track on Deck 10 as my workout before getting ready for dinner, a "formal" night in the dining room that necessitated wearing a shirt and tie. After dinner, we checked out a live music show in the ship's Masquerade Theater, but it proved lame, so we headed up to the outdoor movie theater, poolside on Deck 9, and watched the remake of the James Bond movie "Casino Royale." It was a bit weak, but a few minutes into the flick, a freak gale blew up around the ship, preambled by a sudden downpour that sent movie goers scattering for cover. We adjusted our seating arrangements to accommodate the new weather conditions. The rain ceased pretty quickly but high winds on Deck 9 from the gale made hearing the movie a bit hard. Deborah had seen the movie before and used the change in weather as an opportunity to retire to our stateroom. I saw the movie through and then walked around checking out the storm from Deck 9. Being as it was late at night, there was not a great deal to see, other than a few white caps in the viscinity of the boat and the water sloshing around in the Deck 9 pool as the ship rocked to and fro on the angry sea.

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