Saturday, June 24, 2006

Spinner dolphins of the Arabian sea!

Captain Salim's sailing boat may have been named the Sperm Whale, but what he really knew about was dolphins. We were on a family holiday in Oman and the country's rugged coastline, studded with wrecks and reefs, is a haven for millions of fish, not to mention the Arabian Sea's most outrageous extrovert - the Spinner dolphin.

We'd spent days dragging our sweating kids round dusty towns and dustier forts - the dolphin trip dangling, carrot like, at the end of the week. After a few miles of zigzagging slowly across the turquoise waves, Captain Salim called us to the rail. There, like a silvery shadow, we saw a pointy streak. 'Is it a shark?' screamed our four-year-old. She'd already been nipped by a donkey, and the holiday was clearly going from bad to worse.

But then, to our right, a group of glistening show-offs jumped into the air, followed by dozens more. Soon there were close to 100 dolphins somersaulting across the warm waves. Their celebrations looking as if they'd all scored a World Cup winner. As we headed back to port, the captain smiled calmly at our youngest: 'She was right, you know, she did see a shark...'

Quick "Facts about Dolphins"