Dolphins Surface Early

A local woman took her family sailing on the York River and found it a serene setting of mild winds and warm breezes, part of the outdoor fun near Yorktown. The anticipating was a family outing. The adventure was in the quietude as they chatted for hours. In the process, we sailed under the Coleman Bridge to look at the USNS Robert E. Peary, docked at Naval Weapons Station.

The surprise of the day was the first siting this year of dolphins. Multiple pods of two showed up near the entrance to Sarah Creek, surfacing quietly and then receding before they popped up a hundred feet away. The ladies found them breathtaking. Mid-May is early as they usually don’t show up until mid-June. It used to be August, but I credited global warming. “Climate change,” one lady corrected me.

Mary Benton couldn’t bring her husband along since something at work came up at the last minute. She took their daughter Bridget along with her sister Anne and Anne’s friend Lynne Cantwell.

I explained the Bernoulli Effect as the source of flying, and sailing as well. One example to feel the lift of the wind is to put your hand out the window of the car while driving. That got Anne to thinking.

“I was driving with my grown son in Arizona with a mattress tied to the top of the roof. I worried that it would fly off, but he was confident. We did stop once to tighten the rope. We noticed that road was wet because it had been raining. Evidently we were driving behind a rainstorm, approaching it from behind. I wanted to stop to avoid getting the mattress soaked. He read the formation and motion of the clouds, and I was certain we were going to get rained on. He said ‘Nope,’ so we kept going. He was right. I should have known, since he’s an astrophysicist.”

I thought Anne was going to say the Bernoulli Effect made the mattress rise into the air, and with it the car. Lynne said, “Yes, what ever happened to flying cars? Weren’t we supposed to get those by now?”

Mary was proud of Bridget, who’s studying psychology at Christopher Newport University. “She’s going to China this summer.” Bridget said it’s with a group of 20 American students, with most of the time spent in Beijing. “I can speak Mandarin, but I can read it better than I can speak it. I can’t speak Cantonese, which is five times harder. In Chinese, tonal sounds and seemingly innocent inflections can change the context radically.” She was well aware of President Kennedy’s gaffe, “I am a Berliner,” which actually translated from German as “I am a jelly donut.”

Lynne moved around a lot and spent considerable time working for WTKR Radio and Television. Today she helps a company outsourcing blogs. “The other day, they were concerned about a breaking story that we needed to post online. They fretted and agonized, and then I said I would do it. In 20 minutes I think I wrote 800 words, and they were amazed. Hey, I grew up in radio news.”

Like what you read? Give Bill O'Donovan a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.