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The Fisherman And The Dolphin

April 12, 2012

Because you can never see enough examples of the complex and moving relationships dolphins can choose (that’s a key word) to develop with humans, I want to point you toward a fascinating documentary series that depicts the complex bonds that can form between wild dolphins and humans.

Here’s a summary from the press release:

Blue Velvet In Sinai shows the remarkable relationship between a wild solitary female dolphin in the Red Sea named Olin, who in 1996 initiated a close relationship with a Bedouin fisherman called Abdullah, from The Mezzeina Tribe in the Sinai desert, Egypt.

This tribe is deaf due to inter-breeding, and communicate via sign language. In late December 1996 Olin, after mating with a dolphin from a passing school, gave birth to a male calf named Jimmy (by the Bedouin). Jimmy’s arrival heralded a massive tourism wave that changed the area and the lives of the Bedouin.

The programmes also highlight many aspects of Bedouin life and culture against the vast landscapes of the Sinai Desert. We will catch fish with Abdullah and members of his tribe, and compare differing life styles between the traditional and modern Bedouin..

An extract from a story by the ancient Roman writer Aleian, about a tragic love affair between a young boy and a female dolphin, will show that human and dolphin interaction is not something new. Dolphins were abundant in classical times, though now their species are declining.

Before discovering Olin, Abdallah had difficulty with speech. Now Abdallah is able to talk freely, and his hearing is said to have improved. A remarkable achievement, almost miraculous, though it can be partly explained scientifically.

Footage of pregnant woman swimming with dolphins, and interviews with women who have undergone water births, are examples of how close we are in nature to these playful creatures. Including the first birth with dolphins in Israel, which hit major headlines.

Dolphin healing is an area that makes me very, very nervous, because it is so ripe for commercial exploitation. When humans think dolphins can give them something they tend to take (and someone always has a way to make money from that dynamic). But the series at least helps show how remarkable dolphins are, which can only help humanity change the way it sees dolphins and the many ways in which human culture exploits them.

Here are some trailers from the Blue Velvet In Sinai website, and for a small fee you can watch the whole series online here, or buy a DVD.

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