I don’t know when it started, but I have long held the habit of taking a walk if I’m going to making a long phone call. Probably because it is much more exciting than just sitting somewhere; you get a change of scenery. Anyway, the Phones That Be thwarted my attempts to call my parents, so I talked with Sarah, Kali and Kelly instead. I was out on West Sands, so I had plenty of room to just walk. On my way back toward civilisation, I commented to Kali, ‘Oh, there’s a dolphin. I usually don’t see them over here.’ The longer we talked, the closer it came to shore, and then it turned and swam straight toward me. Eventually I was in the rocky area, where tide pools form when the tide is out. Well, the tide was going out and the dolphin was swimming back and forth between the two rock walls that jut out parallel to each other out into the sea. Kali told me it was natural selection if the dolphin beached itself, and because I was distracted we finished our call.
It was then that I realised that all of the numbers on my international sim card were, well, international and so I couldn’t call anyone in town to look up the beached whale hotline number. Anyway, I stood out as far as my wellies would let me, which is about calf-deep, and the dolphin was only a stone’s throw away from me. It was little. Not even three feet long. It was a baby. So I called Kelly, because most of the time it seems like she’s the other half of my brain. ‘There’s a baby dolphin and I’m thinking about going out to it,’ I told her. ‘Don’t go out to it. It’s made of muscle. You aren’t,’ she answered quite sensibly. It still had plenty of water to swim in, so it was safe for a while yet. I stood by at the ready to go in anyway because I am a closet Franciscan because animals are important, too, okay? I may not be able to do anything about the crazy people comparing Obama to communists and Nazis in the same breath when communism and Nazism are on complete opposite ends of the spectrum but I could do something about the baby animal that was no more than 15 feet away from me.
So I stood there until it finally figured out that all it needed to do was turn 90-degrees and swim down the corridor created by the rock walls. Further out in the water, out in the bay proper, I could see another dolphin that was probably its mother. ‘Go on, little fella,’ I said, because everyone talks like Dory when talking to marine animals. ‘Go on to your momma.’
Anyway, I have since added the Scottish SPCA’s animal helpline to my phone: 03000 999 999.
Edit: After some cursory research, it appears that the baby creature was actually a Harbour Porpoise.