What kind of place is this?
When Dilo was taken to the aquarium he was lowered into a tiny pool separated from the main pool by a metal grill. He was pleased to be back in the water again where he could breathe more easily. Dilo swam in a circle around the small enclosure. Despite his ordeal Dilo was remarkably fit.
As he recovered his strength and his temperature became steady, Dilo’s impulse was to explore his surroundings. That was what his mother had taught him to do whenever he went somewhere new. In the open sea the first thing he always did was to scan with his long distance sonar. This told him the size and position of the rocks in the area. Then, using his eyes and another type of sonar, he would go exploring. He would poke his nose, or beak, into caves - after making sure there were no large lobsters lurking inside of course. Dilo would investigate the gulleys and the sandy seabed between the rocks. In this way he would soon build-up a mental map of the region and store it in his remarkable memory. Dilo depended upon this for his survival in the sea.
But life was not just about survival for Dilo - he could do that easily. It was about being curious, about being alive, about having fun. The very act of experiencing everything around him made Dilo feel good. He felt pleasure when he saw seaweeds clinging to rocks - especially when the water was rough and they were flung around in the sea’s fury. He would rush through the wild foam, feeling the sea’s energy.
When the sea was calm he would glide serenely through the placid water. The sight of ribbons of sunlight dancing on the rocks filled him with peace. For Dilo, the joy of just being alive in a place as wondrous as the sea, made him very happy.
When Dilo turned on his magic sound in the aquarium, it bounced off the concrete walls and came back as a booming echo. There were no nooks or crannies to explore. So he turned off his sound. His eyes were stinging with the chlorine in the water. When he opened them there were no shapes or movements to see. Wherever he looked he saw plain white walls. There was no tide.
“What kind of place have these humans brought me to?” the dolphin asked himself. He swam to the iron grill that stopped him going into the big pool. He could not see through the cloudy water to the other side but he felt there was another presence. He beamed his sonar across the flat concrete bottom. It showed him that on the far side was another iron grill. Something was moving behind the grill. It was another dolphin in a tiny holding pool, just like his.