Yo-ho-ho me fellow lovers of the briny deep. I realized just recently that me li’l column be runnin’ for a whole year now. Remember that first arrrr-ticle? With the joking about poop decks and the promise to shiver ye timbers? (And speaking of that, we should get together soon, matey …) How the time flies when ye be drinking rum!
But that be enough reminiscing for now. Let’s move on to more recent headlines, like, oh, say, "Navy may deploy anti-terrorism dolphins." I kid ye not.
Dozens of dolphins and sea lions trained to detect and apprehend waterborne attackers could be sent to patrol a military base in Washington state, the Navy said [last month] …
The base is home to submarines, ships and laboratories and is potentially vulnerable to attack by terrorist swimmers and scuba divers …
Several options are under consideration, but the preferred plan would be to send as many as 30 California sea lions and Atlantic Bottlenose dolphins from the Navy’s Marine Mammal Program, based in San Diego.
And what have the animals been trained to do when they come upon "terrorist swimmers and scuba divers"?:
When a Navy dolphin detects a person in the water, it drops a beacon. This tells a human interception team where to find the suspicious swimmer …
Sea lions can carry in their mouths special cuffs attached to long ropes. If the animal finds a rogue swimmer, it can clamp the cuff around the person’s leg. The individual can then be reeled in for questioning.
Rogue swimmers, consider ye selves warned!
In response to the "absurd" idea to bring the marine mammals to Puget Sound — a body of water 10 degrees colder than the waters they are used to in San Diego and their native Gulf coast — a group of Pacific NW activists has begun a knitting campaign. Much like the li’l old ladies knitting for oil-soaked penguins, the dolphin knitters are needling for news coverage and issue awareness by making sweaters, hats, and flipper mittens (flittens?).
Said one knitter when asked if it’s all a joke, "We think it’s more a tragic irony, and not nearly as ridiculous as the Navy believing they can transport and keep warm-water dolphins humanely alive in our frigid waters." I’ll purl to that! (Har, har, arrr … that be a knitting joke — and yes, I be a stitch bitch! Why, I knit me own eye patch and peg-leg warmer.)
The group is asking supporters to bringing their knitting to one of the upcoming public meetings about the plan and/or to send comments directly to the Navy. Check out the Knitting for Dolphins website for more information.