Sailing Sicily: Dolphins' Evolutions
While navigating from the Aegadian Islands through the Natural Reserve of “ Lo Zingaro” on the west coast of Sicily we had an amazing encounter with a huge pod of dolphins and managed to count at least 60 individuals! Everyone loves dolphins, they’re intelligent, inquisitive and playful creatures who have captivated people and have become everyone’s favorite aquatic mammal. Their evolutions and spectacular gliding on the waves has made of them an ideal travel companion for those who love Sailing Sicily and for all sea lovers.
But having to adapt to life in the harsh sea environment requires some serious life skills, so here are ten mind blowing facts about our cute travel mates:
1. Dolphin are able to dive up to 1,000 feet, swim at a speed of up to 25 miles per hour for a long time and leap in the air up to 20 feet.
2. Dolphins give themselves names! Every one of our travel companion really has a “signature whistle” which allows other individuals to recognize him or her and echolocation to detect everything that moves in the water, be it friend or enemy.
3. Scientists hooked electrodes to dolphins' heads and discovered that they spend 8 hours every day with half of their brains shut down. They just float around semi-consciously. Talk about not missing your beauty sleep!
4. Dolphins are incredibly social and altruistic animals. They live in groups and cooperate with each other to get food and in raising offspring and they are known to stay and help injured sea creatures( and even humans, who they can recognize as not being a fish!). They play with seaweed or with other members of the pod and sometimes, they will tease other living creatures in the water.
5. The average lifespan of a dolphin is 17 years. However, some of them in the wild have been known to live for about 50 years. But when in captivity, being unable to hunt can shock the dolphins and send them spiraling into suicide. So the best place to admire dolphins remains a sailing cruise!
6. Dolphins often use special hunting tactics like circling the fish in a school so that they make a tight ball and then they will take turns going through the center of the ball to feed as they do... another amazing example of helping each other.
7. They have a fast healing process even when they have deep wounds such as those that are the result of shark bites, they heal with exceptional speed and without scarring since they quickly form new fat tissue, collagen, and elastic fibers as a reflex…..and they feel no pain, ever!
8. A dolphin’s body has adapted to avoid the bends (the formation of air bubbles in blood and tissue as a diver returns to the surface of the water) by completely collapsing its ribcage, forcing the air under pressure out of its lungs and into the windpipe and the complex air chambers that lie below the blowhole.
9. Bonobos, dolphins, and humans are the only animals to have sex for pleasure and spend time on foreplay.
10. Our travel mates also come in many sizes and colour combinations….one of them is pink!