Postcard from SeaWorld
I feel this picture is meaningful because it shows a connection between an animal and a human that is truly amazing. To trust and to gain the trust of an enormous wild animal such as that whale is an incredible thing. It shows patience and commitment. You can probably see that this photo was taken at a Shamu show in SeaWorld. Throughout the entire performance, both whales and people were perfectly coordinated, moving in unison and working together.
I find it inspiring that they were able to overcome the inability to speak to each other in the way both species are used to, finding a new method of communication and understanding. This photo in particular displays a moment of triumph, proof that while these training programs don’t always go smoothly, as we know from the incident with a trainer’s ponytail in 2009, it is possible work through these challenges and create something beautiful.
It makes me wonder how the trainer must be feeling, working long and hard to forge a mutual trust with this animal and then having it pay off as she stands there on the whale’s nose in the water, having finally reached her goal and now earning the admiration of everyone in the audience. If it were me, I would feel as if I were on top of the world.
Kathryn Blanco is a member of the Youth Travel Blogging Mentorship Program