2/28/08

You're my obsession...

Photo credit: Seaworld.org
...an ode to Shamu.

I have a problem.
It all started with that Chumby I was telling you about before (yes, that's a link, for those of you who are curious - just click on the word "Chumby" and it'll take you there). The Chumby is an alarm clock, yes. It also shows the latest stock prices, the local weather forecast, breaking news, traffic reports, LOL cats, Overheard in New York, vintage Loony Tunes, and oh, so much more.
Our favorite thing from the start was the live webcams. Every night when we go to bed, we can check on the street scenes in Times Square (latenight), Dublin (early morning), Abbey Road in London (early morning), Kona Beach Hawaii, etc. There's something very soothing about seeing a moment in time around the world.
And then there are the zoo cams.
Now, I'm an animal person to begin with. I love to watch animals, or, really, critters of any variety - even bugs. And as much as I love to watch them, I am equally horrified that animals have to live in captivity at the zoo. There's nothing better than taking our nieces and nephews to the zoo, and there's nothing worse that watching a group of tweenage boys taunting the bears in their cages just to make their friends think they're "tough". I can't come to terms with my feelings about the zoo.
I am equally conflicted over large ocean creatures in aquariums. And I am even more irresistibly attracted by watching things underwater. This has been a lifelong obsession of mine, from watching Jaques Cousteau as a kid to collecting water bugs from the ponds and marshes on our ranch, from snorkeling among the giant rocks of The Baths on Virgin Gorda as a teenager to learning to SCUBA dive off the coast of Belize in my 20s. If anything, I love our local aquarium even more than our local zoo.
So it was that I was primed for love at first sight when we found the Shamu Cam on our Chumby.
I can't say that I ever had a special place in my heart for Killer Whales. Not until now, anyway. But, since the advent of our Chumby, I am as eager for bedtime every night as a kid on Christmas eve. While M. reads his business reports and tech magazines, I prop myself on my elbows and settle in for an evening of Shamu-watching.
Let me tell you, I had no idea. I really didn't. But I am now convinced that Killer Whales are the best thing, the very best thing ever to inhabit this big, beautiful planet. Have you ever seen them swim together? And I don't mean during the shows, where they do tricks in formation and flap their tails for treats. I mean underwater. These enormous, toothful creatures are the most graceful, clownish, comical, lyrical things that I have ever had the pleasure of resting my eyes upon. They are as agile as dolphins and as inventive. They are always in motion, and every night there is a new show of agility, a new and more creative routine that they come up with to entertain themselves. Some nights, they're all about teamwork and swim in graceful formation for hours like the most well-rehearsed of water ballerinas. Some nights they're all about clowning around, and it's a free-for-all in the tanks.
The cameras are underwater, so it's like having a window on a secret world, especially at night when the ambient light is just right for whale watching.
The other night, I stayed up til 3 am Shamu-watching. Yah. This could be a problem.
Oh, Shamu, how I love you.
I felt just the tiniest bit better to know that the various Shamus (it's just a stage name, as I learned on "Ask Shamu") are mostly born and raised in captivity these days. Otherwise I would have been sorely tempted to do a "Free Willy" on their @$$es.
Am I glad that there are Shamus in a gigantic tank somewhere so that I can watch them on a web cam? Yes, because otherwise I would never have come to understand the wonder and beauty of Killer Whales. Would I rather, on the whole, that they were out free in the great oceans of the world? Ab-so-frickin-lutely. Just give me a few more nights...

6 comments:

Vivian M said...

If you have never done so, get yourselves down to Discovery Cove in Orlando, Fla and go swimming with the dolphins (and see Shamu in person!).

3D said...

I am a water child and would like on a boat if I could. Snorkeling is a passion of mine and to me the Baths at Virgin Gorda are beyond amazing! Hoping to get back there one day again.

Keep smilin!

tiffany said...

I have those same torn feelings about the zoo. Those poor elephants and monkeys. But alas, those monkeys are my FAVE and how else would I ever get to see such creatures without the zoo...

Yoli said...

I am as conflicted as you are about these beautiful animals in captivity. They require very cold waters or their top fins start bending. You saw it on free Willie. Once they sent him to that sanctuary his fin straightened out. Sadly he never learned to live on his own and died in that sanctuary. I feel that seaquariums and zoos will be the last place of refuge for the animals in our planet. Every day their invornment gets more hostile. For example the polar bears(my personal favorite)is an endangered animal, but the jackasses in Alaska do not want to list them as such so that their pipe dream does not come to an end. They will be gone soon except in zoo too. Then the grey wolf is getting ready to be taken off the endanger list so now the rednecks in Montana and Wyoming want to hunt them. It is sad to see animals in captivity but unfortunately man does not allow otherwise.

I have to check this alarm clock you speak of..sounds beautiful.

Carrie&Aaron said...

I love Discovery cove-did it twicw too much fun! Love the water!! love animals(25 chickens?)

Chrissie Larkin said...

I think whales might be my favorite animal! EVER! There are so many cute little snuggly ones, that are precious! BUT when I was in middle school, I fell in love with whales. Their beauty and grace seem unbeatable to me.