Our ship does not provide “Mascots,” that is, humans dressed in humiliating and often poorly ventilated costumes to stand at the gangway to be photographed with the guests as they leave the ship upon arrival in port. So naturally when we were in port alongside an NCL ship in Nassau I couldn’t help but jump the chain link fence between us and get my picture taken with the “Dolphin.”
Maritime fun fact: Dolphins in captivity lose the translucent sheen on their skin, which is replaced by dirty matted fur. They ARE, however, able to stand for several hours at a time. Why, after posing with this dolphin I went back onboard to have breakfast, changed my clothes and came back outside–and the dolphin was still posing for pictures. I went out for coffee and did some shopping. When I returned to the pier several hours later–the dolphin was still standing there! Now I’m starting to think that the dolphin’s natural cheerful disposition is being exploited. Should I call the Animal Rescue League, the ASPCA or the Mascots Equity Association?
The plight of the “Dolphin” made me appreciate my job all the more. OK, I am away for months at a time and more times than not I wish that the guests were on the other side of the footlights and not in my FACE, but at least in the role I’ve been cast I get to play a human.