Published: September 28, 2009 at 4:16 PMActually, there's a much stronger wake-up call to be had in the marine mammal world. This is a polite way of saying I can top your face-to-face-with-hungry-orca with minimal effort. ;-)
Back around the late 80's, when I was still a regular at Sea World San Diego, they had a couple of orcas in the petting pool for a while. One, a five-year old male named Kotar, was quite people-friendly. And, like dolphins and many other animals, he had no trouble at all telling individual people apart, and his in-air vision was pretty darn good. This means he could spot the 'regulars' (like me) coming from a respectable distance.
One foggy fall morning, I walked in all set to get some quality 'critter' time, and Kotar was first up to the wall. I start leaning over to greet him, and FWHOOSHH! He squirts what had to be at least five gallons of cold(!) salt water, liberally laden with bits of his breakfast (Animal Care had served squid that morning), right down my front!
I still played with him after recovering from the shock. After all, he only drenched those he liked (or who, through being foolish enough to show up at the pool dressed in Sunday Best, were REALLY asking for it).
Now THAT's a wake-up call! Good thing I routinely kept a change of clothes in one of the rent-a-lockers.