So we were in California, invited by professor Skip Rizzo to present the Dolphin Swim Club at the ICDVRat, a coming together of Virtual Reality pioneers, medical scientists, as well as artists, dedicated to help people within the field of healthcare with the aid of science and technology, all in the City of Angels. Someone stated about the question; Does Virtual Reality work for patients in healthcare? To compare it with this question; does a syringe help? The answer was that it really depends what you put in it. Content is queen. For an artist this is of course great inspiration!
However, before spending some days in LA, since we were already in the area , we hung out on the Pacific Ocean, to see if we could meet up with cetacean friends in the rich coastal waters. Out in the harbor town Dana Point we went out with a whale-watching catamaran, and we had the great honor to meet for the first time, the magnificent Blue Whale. The greatest creature ever lived on our planet, ever… (That will be a separate blog next, with some cool pictures, I promise). As well as, Californian Sea-Lions, Mola-Mola, Short-beaked Common Dolphins, Long-beaked Common Dolphins, Coastal Bottle-nose Dolphins, Sea-otters, Pelicans, Elephant Seals, Humming Birds, All kinds of other birds, Rizzo’s Dolphins, (perhaps in honor of our host professor Skip Rizzo), Porpoises and Humpback Whales.
Captain Dave, the owner of the whale-watching operation introduced us to his friend Barry Curtis. Both are members of a whale rescue team trying to set free sea life entangled in fishing nets. Barry invited us to join him on his boat the next morning. The mission was to try and find an entangled humpback whale, spotted the day before. On a beautiful sunny, windless September morning we set out from Dana Point to see if we could find the humpback in trouble, and ‘babysit’, keep score of it’s position till further rescue efforts could arrive. Although the conditions were perfect we never found the whale.
Barry’s companion is a very special dog, his name is Otter (the dolphin dog) and he is if possible even more passionate about dolphins than we are. So when we couldn’t find the whale, at some point Otter became restless and yes, there they were, lots and lots of Short-beaked Common Dolphins all around in a ‘stampede’. Yes Barry, it’s a wonderful world indeed.
The only thing weighing down this magical day was the thought of the poor humpback soul out there in trouble somewhere. Until a few days later when the news arrived that the whale managed to free itself!!
A very happy ending indeed. So to all our new friends from California, whether Cetacean, Canine or Human, wishing you save travels and free passage to wherever your dreams may lead you.