The Alboran sea is located between the continents of Africa, Morocco, and Spain. It joins the Mediterranean and Atlantic Oceans via the Strait of Gibraltar. It is home to many species including dolphins. Tightly bound to their pods, these large brained and highly social mammals we call dolphins (word originating from ‘delpus’ which is the Greek word for womb) use both verbal and nonverbal gestures to communicate with each other. With their high frequency hearing they communicate with whistles, clicks, and loud broadband packets of sound called burst pulses. It is believed that they have a complex system of communication, even better than how humans communicate. Considered to be the world’s most intelligent marine mammals, it is believed that there is a far deeper interconnectedness throughout dolphins and their pod then humans and our social groups.
Excerpt from journal entry, July 2022:
I swam with a family of wild dolphins in the Alboran sea. It was the summer of 2022. I found a posting on a website stating a boat, which is called the Akun is sailing across the Alboran sea. The captain is Israel Lopez Gonzalez. The post stated that they were sailing from Garrucha, Spain to Melilla (which is beside Morocco). The total trip was four days. On our way to Melilla we saw dolphins and a sperm whale, but it was on our way back to Spain where I experienced swimming with them. It was June 30th around 10am in the morning and a pod of dolphins jumping and swimming fast seemed to come directly to our boat. I have had the desire to meet dolphins for some time now, and right after I reminded the captain that if we see dolphins again I want to swim with them, it was then that Maria, the girlfriend of the captain, looked up and yelled, ‘they are coming.’ I saw a pod of approximately fifteen dolphins coming directly to us. My instincts said to jump off the boat, and so I quickly took off my sweater and pants that held back the morning chill, and jumped into the cool blue sea. The captain and skipper on the boat tried to stop it as soon as they could but the boat was still quite far away, too far for me to swim to. One called out ‘grab the invisible fishing line’ — and so I did. I felt more safe knowing I had some connection to the boat as I seemed to not really realize how this leap into the sea would make me feel. The dolphins weren’t around when I first jumped, but enormous seagulls were and they flew to my head thinking that I was some sort of food. Once I managed to get closer to the boat was when the family of dolphins reappeared, swimming all around me. I saw mothers and babies, I saw groups of dolphins swimming together so in sync that it looked like a performance, one dolphins in particular stayed quite close to me for some time. I made eye contact with them, I heard them echo and the whole sea seem to vibrate. I told them that I will be back soon to visit. It was an experience that I will never forget, the connection and ways we seemed to telepathically communicate.
The next day I researched about the dolphins I met and I learned that they can live up to 58 years old. Some of the dolphins there must have been living on this planet the amount of time I have been here, perhaps even longer. I wonder, if I keep going to meet these dolphins, of course I am not sure if I will find the same family again, but if I do, I know that the baby dolphin I saw that day will hopefully outlive me — I say hopefully due to our necessity to keep this home clean and liveable for them. We are the humans causing harm to these mammals, reducing the amount of fish which feeds them, and filling their homes with plastics, fishing nets, and chemicals from factories. I think about the future and desire to be part of what fixes the problem, we do not have the right to hurt the lives of so many creatures who are just trying to live.
In the 1950s my four grandparents, all at different times, and with millions of others boarded a ship, and went across the Alboran Sea on way to Canada. Today, the sea is currently witnessing thousands of refugees searching for a new home, crossing the sea from Africa in small, unsafe vessels — and many only to be denied entry and returned to their original home where murder, torture and rape is taking place.