2015 Vacation Destinations: Circle Line Tour (Best of NYC), New York City, New York

My folks and I took two tours when we visited New York City in 1988. One was the Gray Line bus tour, and the other was the Circle Tour.  Bus tours are all very nice, but I much prefer walking.  When I made the list of things I wanted to do on our 2015 trip, the Circle Tour was mandatory.

The Best of NYC tour, which circles the entire island of Manhattan, starts out at Pier 83.  The boat heads south along the Hudson River and then goes into New York Harbor, where it circles around Liberty and Ellis Islands.  The tour guide also pointed out the Central Railroad of New Jersey terminal, where many of the Ellis Island immigrants would catch their trains to other parts of the country.  My own great-grandmother was joining her husband in the Chicago area upon her arrival in the United States, so perhaps she and my grandfather took a train from that station after they arrived in the United States.

The tour goes along the southern edge of Manhattan, allowing the passengers to take photos of the skyline of Manhattan and then up the East River.  The tour guide pointed out the places where new construction was going up as we went around the island, including new condominiums in Queens and Brooklyn. In fact, the tour guide on this tour talked a lot about real estate.  He talked about the cost of condominiums on Manhattan and pointed out the unfortunately unattractive 432 Park Avenue, among other things.

The tour then goes west on the Harlem River, around Inwood Hill Park, and then back down the Hudson. Along the way, the tour goes under eight bridges and over three tunnels.  And, yes, you are aware of the tunnels.  The tour guide pointed out the air exchanges for the tunnels as we went by.

I thought the North River Wastewater Treatment Plant was particuarly interesting.  The building almost looks Roman, with arches along the length of the concrete building.  The top of the building is the 28-acre Riverbank State Park, with a swimming pool, a skating rink, a theater, and a restaurant.  There is also an “athletic complex” and an assortment of other types of sporting fields, including tennis and basketball courts, a softball field, a running track, paddleball courts, and a football field.  As you may have discovered (or may still discover) I love parks.  And I found the places that New Yorkers manage to put parkland, particularly this one, to be fascinating.

The Circle Line Tour boats are wheelchair accessible, though the restrooms are not.  There is both indoor and outdoor seating and the outdoor seating has both covered and uncovered areas.  I have a slight tendency towards motion sickness, particularly on boats, so the outdoor seating is a real plus for me.

National Geographic February 2014, Part 2

Yukon: Canada’s Wild West by Tom Clynes, photographs by Paul Nicklen

In the 1800s, prospectors discovered gold in the Yukon, and a gold rush began. The government passed laws allowing people to stake claims pretty much anywhere they wanted, regardless of whether it was private property or tribal lands, or anything else. They also failed to limit the types of equipment that could be used in any way. This made sense at the time because most prospectors just had a pick and a shovel.

However, those laws are still in force, and the mineral wealth of the Yukon goes far beyond gold. Modern-day prospectors are digging for copper, iron, uranium, and zinc, in addition to gold. Modern-day prospectors are also staking thousands of claims and using heavy machinery to excavate. This is leading the areas where the prospectors are working to basically be strip-mined, and chemicals are leaching into the rivers.

It isn’t to the level of an ecological catastrophe — yet. And new legislation has been introduced that hopefully will help prevent one.

The government and people of the Yukon aren’t even getting much financial benefit from the mineral rush, because the cost to mine in the Yukon also hasn’t been raised in decades. This rate was set at 2.5%, assuming $15 per ounce of gold and was set back in 1906. This means that for every $1,501.62 (Canadian) ounce of gold that is removed from the ground today, the mining company only has to pay $0.375 to the Canadian government for use of their land. Setting a flat value on gold in the law made sense back when no one out that far in the wilderness could know what the current value of gold was, but these days, all you need is a satellite phone or, if you are close to civilization, a cell phone, and you can track the value of gold nearly by the minute, the rate should be set to a percentage of the current value of gold, rather than a percentage of the value of gold in 1906.

Brunelleschi’s Dome, by Tom Mueller, photographs by Dave Yoder

My neighbor is something of an Italophile. While Alex and I were planning our 2014 trip to Italy, my neighbor insisted that we had to go to Florence. I wasn’t willing to commit because we only had six nights available (I was still part-time at work and only got four days a year of vacation, so I had to take some paid personal time to make it that far), but I promised him that if we had a free day, we’d take the train up to Florence for the day. As you will discover sometime in 2017 or 2018, once I get around to writing up the Italy trip, we never made it to Florence. We are planning a return trip to Italy once Alex is out of college, in part to see the Blood Miracle, so we’ll pencil in a few days in Florence on that trip, perhaps.

In any aerial photograph of Florence, one feature stands out — the dome of the cathedral. Brunelleschi’s Dome is about the construction of that dome. The cathedral was built in the very, very late 13th and early 14th Centuries, but no one knew how to construct the dome that was planned to finish the building. The dome had to be about two meters farther across than the one at the Pantheon in Rome, and to make things more interesting, the space that the dome had to cover was octagonal. As a result, they couldn’t just crib the design of the Pantheon dome as so many have done in the centuries since the Pantheon was built.

As a result, the cathedral stood roofless for over a century. Then, in the early 15th Century, a goldsmith named Filippo Brunelleschi came to the city fathers and said that he had a solution. Brunelleschi was made superintendent of the dome project, and construction started, a project that would take 16 years.

Karma of the Crowd, by Laura Spinney, photographs by Alex Webb

Karma of the Crowd is about the importance of crowds to human psychology viewed through the Kumbh Mela. My experience with foreign languages — in this case, Italian — rears its ugly head here . My first thought was, “so it has something to do with apples?” because “mela” is “apple” in Italian. It has nothing to do with apples. “Mela” is the Hindi word for “festival.”

The Kumbh Mela, literally “Pitcher Festival” is a Hindu religious festival held every 12 years on several rivers in India. The Kumbh Mela that we visit in Karma of the Crowd is the one held in January and February of every 12 years near the city of Allahabad. The myth is that the nectar of immortality spilled from a pitcher into the river and so tens of millions of Hindus gather at the river to drink the water (despite the coliform bacteria found in the river) and share their common faith together.

Some studies, including one done at the 2011 mela, which is a smaller annual festival held in Allahabad, have shown that being in crowds can have the same kinds of effects on the attendees as personal social connection has on individuals. Some of these positive effects are physical. Socially connected people experience less inflammation and have more efficient immune systems. And these positive effects last for a while after the gathering ends, as well.

This research is particularly timely considering that more than half of the world’s population now lives in cities. Scientists are discovering that people who live in cities tend to be more socially connected than those who live in more isolated situations, and this has positive effects on the residents, both in terms of physical health, but also in psychological terms. People who live in cities tend to create art and knowledge (and also money) better than those who live in other places.

I have to say that as someone who loves cities and who wants to live in a city center someday, this is good news for me.

September 2015 Supermoon

Alex and I just returned from looking for the “blood moon.”  It was too cloudy in San Antonio to see it, so I looked at the Clear Sky Chart website and saw that the sky seemed clearer out west on Interstate 10.  It seemed that the farther west you go, the better viewing conditions were, so Alex and I headed west.  We drove until we left the city lights behind and then went even farther west on local roads.

When we finally reached a place where we could see the moon, we put on our hazard lights and pulled over to attempt to take some pictures.  A family in an SUV stopped to make sure we were okay, and we explained what we were up to.  They recommended that we drive even farther out on that road, so we did.

We stopped just about at the maximum of the eclipse and attempted to take some pictures.  I say “attempted to take” because it was still pretty cloudy, so all we got, for the most part, was darkness with a little smudge of light in it.  I am thinking about getting one of those apps that will average them together and perhaps bring the moon out a little more in the pictures, but maybe I will decide that just having made that drive and seen the moon is sufficient.

All I know for certain is that it’s getting towards 11:00 here and I’d better get to bed if I want to get up to see Alex off to school in the morning.

I played around with the edit functions of my phone last night and came up with some kind of image representing the moon that I saw last night. It’s not perfect and, in fact, is kind of blobby looking, but at least it’s visible.

September 27, 2015 Blood Moon
The supermoon eclipse of September 27, 2015, seen from northwest of San Antonio, Texas

My Travel Memories: Jupiter Inlet Light, Jupiter, Florida

This may be the last post of my going-to-Florida-up-to-1977 posts.  Next, I guess, will be my family’s and my trips to Western North Carolina, where my maternal grandfather had a cabin.  We made several trips there, including 1974 and 1977.

Jupiter Inlet Light was built on the premises of the Jupiter Military Reservation.  The original structure in that region was Fort Jupiter, built in 1838, during what looks like the Second Seminole War.  The government then expanded the property to an entire reservation.

The lighthouse was built atop a mound that was originally thought to be a midden — a garbage pile — left by the natives.  It was later proven to be a natural sand dune.  The lighthouse was built in 1860.

Lighthouses have something called a “daymark.” This is the color markings and shape of the lighthouse.  No two lighthouses are identical. This allows sailors to use them as navigational aids during daytime, as well as at night.  One of the most famous daymarks is the black-and-white spiral marking on Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.  Jupiter Inlet Light’s daymark is its red color.  During its first 50 years of operation, Jupiter Inlet Light was unpainted, and in 1910, it was painted a bright red.  During renovations in the early 1990s, the red paint was changed to a more muted brick red color.

Parts of the grounds, including the museum, are handicap accessible.  There is a ramp with handrails at the Tindall Pioneer Homestead Exhibit and there is an ADA-compliant path through the nearby natural area.  Unfortunately, the light itself is not wheelchair accessible. There are 34 steps to the top of the hill and the top of the lighthouse is accessed by a 105-stair spiral staircase.

I recall being disappointed by Jupiter Inlet Light the first time I saw it.  As I pointed out before, the black-and-white pattern of Cape Hatteras Light is one of the most famous daymarks.  I was under the impression that all lighthouses were black and white, and when I saw that Jupiter Inlet Light was red, I kind of felt that it was a counterfeit lighthouse.  I was also disappointed that we couldn’t climb it.  That opportunity wouldn’t come until one of my visits as an adult, since they didn’t have any tours to the top of the lighthouse until 1994.

Now Jupiter Inlet light is one of my favorites.  It was, after all, the first lighthouse I can remember having visited.  My parents retired to the area near where my cousins lived and whenever my now-ex and I would visit, my folks would take us to dinner in one of several restaurants that were close enough to see the light flashing in the night.

National Geographic February 2014, Part 1

Secrets of the Brain, by Carl Zimmer, photographs by Robert Clark

Secrets of the Brain is about the new technology that scientists are using to find out how the brain works. We see Zimmer having an MRI done of his brain, and the project where the scientists took nearly microscopic slices of a mouse brain to look at the anatomy. Then we go on to new technologies such as a project where they removed all of the fatty acids in the brain of a mouse, rendering the brain transparent.

We also look at one of the results of this research. Carly Hutchinson had a stroke which paralyzed her completely. They put an implant in her brain that allows her to control a computer, and the computer has a robotic arm that Hutchinson can use to accomplish tasks, such as drinking. Hutchinson says that moving the arm feels natural after only a little practice. And as of the writing of the article, a man in an exoskeleton controlled by such an implant was planned to make the first kick of the 2014 World Cup. I checked, and he did make that kick on June 12, 2014.

There’s No Place Like Home, by Garrison Keillor, photographs by Erika Larsen

Keillor has lived most of his life in the Minneapolis/St. Paul region of Minnesota. He moved to New York City for a while, thinking that was where he “shoudl” live as a professional writer, but never felt like he fit in there, so he went back to Minnesota.

In There’s No Place Like Home, we see the area as both Keillor and the Twin Cities grew throughout the years of Keillor’s life (and to some extent that of his ancestors).

As usual, Keillor’s writing is lyrical and beautiful and I wish I could write like him, but I know that if I tried, it would sound weird and forced and I’m better off just being me.

2015 Vacation Destinations: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

In 2015, Alex and I spent one of our vacation days in Philadelphia.  We didn’t get much of the traditional sightseeing done — we didn’t go on the Independence Hall tour or anything like that — we mostly spent time walking around the Central City with a couple that we are friends with.

Before we met up with them, we did get a chance to see the Liberty Bell.  There was one notable difference from my 1988 visit. The area near the Liberty Bell Center is where George and Martha Washington lived.  And the entrance to the Center itself is above the slave quarters.  Because of this, the entrance to the Liberty Bell Center now has an area dedicated to Washington’s slaves, with special mention of Oney Judge, who escaped from Philadelphia and lived out the rest of her life as a fugitive in New Hampshire.

You see, George and Martha Washington had two sets of slaves.  There were slaves that George owned and there were slaves that came from Martha’s first marriage, to Daniel Custis.  The slaves that had belonged to George and Martha personally were freed a few years after George’s death.  Judge, however had been from that first marriage, and the law forbade Martha from freeing the slaves that came from that first marriage. As a result, for the rest of her life, Judge “belonged to” the heirs of Daniel Custis.

The Liberty Bell was pretty much what one would expect.  A bell with a inexpertly mended crack in it.  But it’s important in the scheme of American history (which will be the history course for Alex’s junior year of high school, so it is worth the photo op).  In keeping with the current social climate, lots of people were taking selfies with the bell.

The Liberty Bell
The Liberty Bell, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

After a bit of confusion as to which side of Independence Hall was the front, we met up with our friends, and spent the rest of the day with them.  We went to lunch at Reading Terminal.  We ate outside, which is a long tradition with us when we eat together.  I can only recall one or two times that we’ve eaten indoors.

Then we wandered around the Central City, with a stop at Spruce Street Harbor Park where we sat and talked for a while.  Alex took pictures of the ships that were docked in the harbor.  We also had water ices; Alex liked his so much that he bought a second one.

We walked around the center city some more after the park and on the way back to 30th Street Station, we stopped at Washington Square Park, which was home to one of the moon trees, a sycamore.  The original tree died and a new tree, a clone of the original, was planted in its place.  It was reading up on Washington Square Park that led to my earlier post on moon trees.

I took a few photos of 30th Street Station while we waited for our train.  I love trains, and I love a beautiful train station.  And the 30th Street Station has a lot to recommend it.  I liked the chandeliers and the tall windows best (as evidenced by the picture below):

30th Street Station
Chandeliers and windows at 30th Street Station, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

It was wonderful seeing our friends again and seeing their new home. And the things we saw during our day in Philadelphia made me wish that we’d had more time to spend.

To-Do List: Lighthouses

Unlike my last To-Do List post, which was something new that I’d just discovered and wanted to get started on, today’s To-Do List post is something that I’m actively working on already.

I grew up in Chicago, which does have a few lighthouses to its credit, and yet for most of my life, lighthouses were something that existed somewhere else.  We visited one (I’m pretty sure it was Jupiter Inlet light) during my childhood.  I definitely have visited that one during my adulthood.  We may have gone to Tybee Island light during one of our trips to Savannah, since we have a postcard of it.  I don’t remember it, though.

My interest in lighthouses goes back to 1993 or 1997, depending on how you count.  In 1993, when we first got cable, one of the channels we got was the Sci-Fi Channel, and I finally, after about 27 years of hearing about it, got to see the original 1966 Dark Shadows television program.  I became a fan instantly.  The town where Dark Shadows is set is described as being 50 miles from Bangor, in Hancock County, and on Frenchman’s Bay.  So once I had an Internet connection, in 1997, I set out to figure out where, exactly, that would be, and in the process, saw all kinds of photographs of lighthouses.  At first, I wanted to see one lighthouse, but then with time I decided that I want to see them all.

Since 1997, every time I visit a place that’s near water, I try to see at least one lighthouse (and if I can climb one, that’s even better).  In my 2015 vacation, I got three lighthouses in.  The first was the Statue of Liberty, which is no longer a lighthouse, but was one from 1886 until 1902.  My second and third were Blackwell Island Light and Jeffrey’s Hook Lighthouse (the subject of the children’s book “The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge”) on our Circle Tour trip (more on the tour in a future post).

I still have never visited a lighthouse in Maine, though.

National Geographic June 2015, Part 2

Living Goddesses of Nepal, by Isabella Tree, photographs by Stephanie Sinclair

Living Goddesses of Nepal is about the tradition of the kumari, which are prepubescent girls who are believed to be the living incarnation of the goddess Vajradevi for Buddhists and Taleju for Hindus. Our guide to this world is a kumari candidate, six-year-old Unika Vajracharya. The tradition goes back at least as far as the 900s, when both boys and girls were considered to be conduits for the Divine. Eventually, the boys fell out of favor and the girls were elevated to the status of goddesses.

The article opens on the second attempt to make Unika a kumari. I gather that it is not terribly common for a girl to be a candidate twice, since kumari lose their position the first time they bleed. Sometimes a reign can end by a simple scratch and it always ends at the beginning of the reigning kumari’s menstrual cycles. Since loss of blood ends the reign, kumari are never allowed to touch the ground outdoors, and their activities even within doors are fairly restricted. As a result, most kumari leave at the onset of menses. So a kumari chosen at three or four would then reign for around 10 years, which would make most of the candidates from the previous round also too old for the position.

Traditionally every village in the Kathmandu Valley had a kumari, but with time, the number of kumari has dwindled. Part of this is that only some girls qualify to even be candidates. They must all be from the Shakya caste of the Newari, and traditionally there are 32 traits that a kumari must have to even be considered, including such poetic items as the body of a banyan tree and the soft voice of a duck (I, personally, have never thought of ducks as quiet animals — maybe Nepalese ducks are quieter than mallards) and fearlessness.

In fact, the candidate pool has shrunk so much that the selection process sometimes just boils down to checking the horoscopes of the candidates and choosing the one with the most auspicious signs. As fate would have it, Unika has a horoscope more auspicious than that of her rival, so she is chosen.

There is a note on the National Geographic website version of this article that tells us that all of the kumari and former kumari mentioned in the article survived the earthquake that hit the Kathmandu Valley in April and May 2015.

Canada’s Little Park of Wonders, by McKenzie Funk, photographs by Peter Essick

We begin Canada’s Little Park of Wonders, an article on Yoho National Park in British Columbia, by looking at the Cambrian fossils found there, and the evolutionary dead ends that the represent. We then leave that topic to focus on the Vaux family, a family of liberal Quakers. Mary Vaux, the daughter of the family, was a naturalist. She also eventually became the third wife of Charles Doolittle Walcott, secretary of the Smithsonian Institution (Walcott also took one of the first panoramic photos to be published in National Geographic).

Quakers were not supposed to be interested in art, and yet the Vauxes took many photographs of Yoho National park, and Mary in particular, both took photographs and made numerous paintings of the plants found there. Yet their art was mixed in with science — whether they were scientists whose science was artistic or artists whose art was scientific is up for debate. Over 20 years, they documented the changes in the park (the retreat of the Illecillewaet glacier in particular) through photographs.

Sins of the Aral Sea, by Mark Synnott, photographs by Carolyn Drake

This title just gets me every time I see it. I didn’t even know a sea could sin. I’ll try to let go of that. We’ll see how well that works.

The Aral Sea, which sits on the coast between Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, was once the fourth-largest lake in the world, in between Lake Victoria and Lake Huron. Then, driven at least in part by siphoning off water from the river that fed the sea in order to raise cotton, the Aral Sea began to shrink. By 1998, the Aral Sea was the eighth largest lake in the world, and now it barely ranks at all. In fact, in 2015, the Aral Sea is actually two smaller bodies of water, with salinity levels one-third that of the Dead Sea, and the southernmost half of the sea is evaporating so quickly that the ground it leaves behind is still wet.

The land left behind is covered in remains of the sea that once was, including docks and piers, grounded fishing ships, and acres and acres of salt. They had hoped that the salt would form a hard crust, but instead, the salt is friable, and blows up in dust storms that are also contaminated by agricultural chemicals.

There are still fish in the northernmost body of water, but the southern part of what remains is inhabited only by one species of brine shrimp. In fact, thanks to dams on the local rivers, the northernmost part of the sea is reviving. However, one of the rivers that they dammed is the river that would have fed into the southern portion. In trying to save one part of the sea, they are killing the other.

My Travel Memories: Key West, Florida

I finally found the album on our trip to Florida from when I was five.  A lot of the space is taken up with brochures and leaflets from things like the jai alai games and greyhound racing that my parents went to with my cousins.  There are also the notes that my mom left for the babysitter that watched me and my cousins’ children those nights. There are also post cards from places near Savannah that I do not remember at all, such as Fort McAllister and Tybee Island Light.  I don’t know if I ever actually went to those places or if they were in a package of Savannah post cards (all but eight of the photographs in that album were post cards) and my mom just included them.

One thing I sort of remember is our trip to the Florida Keys.  My mom always told me that we got about halfway down the Keys and my dad got frustrated and we turned around.  However, this photo album has a leaflet from Ernest Hemingway’s home, so it certainly looks like we made it all the way to Key West.

I remember parts of that trip.  My mom told me that we were going to visit some islands.  My only frame of reference for “island” was the television show “Gilligan’s Island,” so I basically spent the whole trip looking for lagoons and sandy beaches.  I didn’t realize until years later that every time we were on land for most of that trip, even without any visible shoreline, was still on an island.

My now-ex, Alex, and I went to Key West in 2003, and so I have better memories of that trip.  We drove down, stayed the night, and then toured the island the next day.  On that trip, we went to the Southernmost Point in the Continental United States, Key West Lighthouse, and we returned to Ernest Hemingway’s house (though I didn’t realize that I had been there before).  And, since Alex has always been fond of animals, we spent quite a lot of time stalking the gypsy chickens of Key West.

Early on the morning of our trip to Key West, I heard a vague sound that sure sounded like a rooster in the distance.  I told my now-ex that I had heard a rooster and he doubted me.  Then I heard it again.  This time he heard it, too.  So we headed out for our adventure and there they were.  Chickens.  Everywhere.  No one is really sure how they got there.  It is likely that they are descendants of several waves of chickens, from birds brought by early European settlers to animals released once cockfighting became illegal.  The gypsy chickens are numerous and reproduce quickly, so the Key West Wildlife Center have begun exporting them to the Florida mainland.  As they are feral, they are actually excellent predators of insects and other pests.  Several farms on the mainland use Key West gypsy chickens as part of their pest control plan.  Alex, who was three at the time, had just begun learning to take pictures, so we gave him a disposable camera (he went through several on this trip) and let him have at it.

National Geographic: June 2015, Part 1

High Science, by Hampton Sides, photographs by Lynn Johnson

I have to admit that I’m less-than-enthusiastic about the legalization of pot. I have some friends who are into the whole thing, and that’s just fine by me, so long as they don’t smoke it around me, or, really, smell very strongly of it around me, or drive under the influence.  And before you go saying, “there’s no evidence that people are more likely to drive under the influence of pot.” and then obfuscate the issue by bringing up drunk driving, I wouldn’t have the first idea how to go about getting pot, but I know three people who have driven under the influence, one of whom almost got into a serious accident as a result. Now maybe those are the only three people in the history of ever who have driven under the influence and that one person is the only one who ever almost got into a major accident, but I suspect there just might be more of them out there.

But I come from a family of alcoholics and I have asthma. Neither of these are conducive to me wanting, personally, to indulge in pot. As a result, I really did not want to get into this article, and I’m currently sitting here staring at my computer screen trying to psych myself up to write about it.

Basically, Sides takes us into the lives of a number of people who are in the pot business, including Raphael Mechoulam, the scientist who identified THC (the psychoactive component of marijuana), a breeder of recreational marijuana, a cancer researcher who has discovered a marijuana-based cancer treatment that works in mice, a family who uses cannabis oil to treat their child’s seizures, and a man who is mapping the genome of pot.

And, I guess if I had a condition that a marijuana-based treatment would help, I would consider it, just like I’ve taken Tylenol #3 and Vicodin four times that I can recall in my adult life (two tooth extractions, a c-section, and as a cough suppressant). I never found any of those meds so enjoyable that I didn’t want to quit, so perhaps my worries about addiction aren’t very well founded. But I don’t believe in taking unnecessary risks, either.

Born to Be Wild, by Tim Zimmermann, photographs by various photographers

Apparently, this is the second in a three-part series, Understanding Dolphins. It’s Time for a Conversation from the May 2015 issue is the first installment.

Born to Be Wild is about projects that attempt to return dolphins, generally those who were captured, back to the wilderness. We see Tom and Misha, dolphins from the Agean, who were captured in 2006 and kept in a park in Turkey. Four years after their capture, a man named Jeff Foster, who used to work for a company that captured dolphins began work to get them ready to be released into the wild. Foster worked with Tom and Misha and set them free We see the process that Foster used, including how he retrained Tom and Misha to eat live fish once again, and how he conditioned them to be able to swim long distances. The process took a while, around a year and a half, but eventually, they opened the sea pen that they had kept Tom and Misha in, and they were off. Their tracking tags stopped working within a year, but the scientists had by then gathered enough information to be sure that Tom and Misha had successfully reintegrated into the wild.

We also see the less-detailed return to the wild of three dolphins captured from the wild and kept in captivity in Korea. Tom and Misha separated and disappeared into the wild, but two of the Korean dolphins were seen nearly a year later, traveling with a pod of wild dolphins.

As to how many wild-caught dolphins can be released into the wild, Naomi Rose, a marine biologist thinks that one-third might be candidates for release. There is also a graphic showing how many captive dolphins in the world were wild-caught, and the vast majority of them were. However, most of the dolphins in the United States, Mexico, and Europe were born in captivity. Whether this is a good or a bad thing is up for debate. I cautiously think of it as a good thing, since at least we’re not contributing so much to the traffic in dolphins. I wish we had more up-to-date facilities for them, however, that allow them a more naturalistic environment. Hopefully that will come with time.