Other Scottish Country Dances for this Day
Today's Musings, History & Folklore
"There never was such a dolphin
in the whole of the Tasman Sea
Across the waves he likes to shoot
you never saw a fish that looked so cute
And he never wears a bathing suit
not even a bee-kee-nee
And he lives at Opononi by the sea"
~ Opo the Friendly Dolphin, Crombie Murdoch, 1956
Pelorus Jack isn't the only celebrity dolphin in Scottish Country Dancing oeuvre. Opo was a bottlenose dolphin who became famous throughout New Zealand during the summer of 1955/56 for playing with the children of the small town of Opononi on the Hokianga harbour. She was originally named "Opononi Jack", based on Pelorus Jack, since she was presumed to be male. Opo was the inspiration for the Maurice Shadbolt novel This Summer's Dolphin and A children's storybook titled Opo the Gay Dolphin by Avis Acres. After Opo died unexpectedly, she was buried with full Māori honours in a special plot next to the Opononi War Memorial Hall. 🐬
The dance Opo (with its "dolphin" reels) is named after a bottlenose dolphin who became famous throughout New Zealand during the summer of 1955/56 for playing with the children of the small town of Opononi on the Hokianga harbour.
Opo was a wild dolphin that started following fishing boats around Opononi in early 1955 after her mother had been killed, and would swim daily in the bay close to town. She was originally named "Opononi Jack", based on Pelorus Jack, since she was initially presumed to be male. Unlike the majority of dolphins, she had no qualms about human company, and would perform stunts for locals, play with objects like beach balls and beer bottles, and allow children to swim alongside her and make contact.
After her death, she was buried with full Māori honours in a special plot next to the War Memorial Hall.
Several documentary films have been made about Opo. including "The Amazing Dolphin of Opononi" released in 1956 and shown in 26 countries.
Click the photo of local school teacher Mrs. Goodwin embracing Opo in the water for a 9 minute documentary about Opo herself.
And to toast the memories of Jack and Opo, click on the His and Hers cocktails for recipes for a Blue Dolphin Martini (vodka, rum, lemonade, and Blue Curacao), or a Pink Dolphin (gin, pineapple and lemon juice, and muddled watermelon).