Travels with Siri
27- 8 -17 - Puck’s story
Here they come, just like ants come out of their holes when they heard the news about something juicy or sweet to feast on. It’s getting close to feeding time here, 7.45am. At least that’s what they call it, the humans that is.
Hello, my name is Puck. I’m a dolphin and I live in Shark Bay. Shark Bay is a beautiful Bay on the Western Australian coast. As the name suggest, it’s home to many sharks, too. Many, believe me, I have had contact with them. Not too friendly ones either. There are over 25 different types of shark here. The most common ones are tiger sharks and hammerheads. A tiger shark almost got me once but I was lucky to escape him. Not without any wounds though. You can still see the scars on my back.
I actually mostly roam in an area called Monkey Mia. The humans that have lived here for tens of thousands of years, the Malgana people, call this place ‘irrabuga mia’ which means ‘home of the dolphins’. ‘Mia’ means home, by the way. Why they now call it Monkey Mia, who knows. Not even the humans today are sure where the monkey part comes from. I overheard some sharks say the other day saying that the name comes from the Malay people from way up north who once camped here to grow pearls and they had monkeys with them. I’m not sure, I have never seen a monkey. That must have been many many more tides ago. Others say there was a big ship called Monkey that wrecked here, also many many tides ago. There is yet another explanation namely that those white fluffy animals that white people used to bring here were nicknamed monkey. The truth is, I don’t care, all I want is my snack.
See how more and more humans flock on the boardwalk? Men, children, women, humans from all over the world who speak all kinds of languages. The all want to watch us. Don’t blame them. We are the most intelligent and also prettiest sea creatures the oceans have ever seen. I know, I know, there are others who think just the same about themselves, but no. They come pretty close, but cannot reach us. You just can’t beat the truth.
We aren’t really fed here, we just get some treats for showing up. Many tides ago, and I mean many, my ancestors discovered that fishermen in this area threw back some of their catch into the waters. We couldn’t let go of that chance to make an easy meal. Unfortunately my ancestors forgot how to feed themselves and started to rely on the fish they were given by the humans. So much for being the most intelligent sea creatures. I’m a bit ashamed of that fact here. We forgot to teach our calves how to hunt for fish and far too many didn’t survive and died of hunger. When the old people, the Malgana, went out to go fishing they would always share their catch with us, too. But they knew we had to do our part to feed ourselves. They just shared out of gratefulness. Luckily the humans later stepped in and made us go back to our senses. They stopped feeding us and only gave us two or three fish when we got to the shore.
It’s fun to see how excited the humans get when they see us now. They gather all along the beach where the feeding area is and just wait for us to roll over to one side and eye them. That is the signal for them that we are ready to be fed. We trained the humans well. Of course we play with them all the time. We show them some of our tricks, which are no tricks really, just some turning around and jumping out of the water. Humans are so easily thrilled. I consider the fish we get our reward for the show we put on. We make sure it’s always someone else of us who gets a fish, not always the same two or three. We are more than 20 at the moment.
The humans who live here and ‘train’ us have given us names too. That’s how I ended up being Puck. The humans here are pretty clever too, they can differentiate us by the shape and marks of our fins and the spots on our backs. Did you know that no fin is ever the same? That makes ever single one of us unique.
Do I like it here? Yes, to my mind it’s the best place to be. The winters are mellow, the summers are gorgeous and the bay always offers enough food for everyone. We just have to watch out for the sharks. Sharks can be mean when they are hungry. But when they are not, they are actually cool to hang around with. If you want to know more about me, just shoot me a seamail. Cheers, mate.