It is the first day of spring and young Gracie Maeis swimming along the coast of Southern California minding her own business.Gracie Mae is a beautiful Dall’s porpoise, who is mostly black, with brightwhite patches on her flanks and her belly. She is very hyperactive, like mostporpoises, and she is having the best time of her life darting and zigzaggingaround all the fishing boats at a high speed of 40 mph. She is one of thefastest moving species of small cetaceans and she loves to bow-ride, but sheloses interest in anything that travels slower than 20 mph.
While Gracie Mae is minding her own business anddarting around all the fishing boats, she doesn’t notice a gillnet hanging downby the side of one of the biggest fishing boats. To her surprise, she getstangled up in the net and can’t free herself. Gracie is stuck in the net formore than an hour and she prays that someone will come along to help her getfree. As she floats in the net while waiting for someone to come to her rescue,she spots a pod of 5 killer whales swimming close by the ship. She getsextremely scared because killers whales are one of the porpoises biggestpredators. She fears she might become dinner for the killer whales.
After a while, Gracie Mae notices a pod of about 20porpoises darting and zigzagging around the fishing boats. She gets reallyexcited and she starts splashing around to get their attention. As the podswims on by, a male Phoceonoides dalli, the Dall’s porpoise’s family,catches sight of the beautiful Gracie Mae because of her robust body and hertiny head. He decides to break away from his pod to help a lady in distress. Heswims over to Gracie Mae and he says, “Hi, I’m Johnny. It looks like you mightneed a little help getting out of that gillnet. Would you like me to give you afin?” Gracie Mae is relieved and answers in her most girly voice, “That wouldbe so nice of you. I have been stuck in this net for a long time, just hopingsomeone would come along and save me.”
Johnny swims over to the net and tells Gracie Mae toswim downward using her wide-based triangular dorsal fin and to press on thenet using her little beak so the net is firm. Johnny swims up to the net anduses his 21 to 28 pairs of very small teeth in both his upper and lower jaws tochew a hole in the net.
Once she is freed from the gillnet, the two swimcloser to the California shore to relax and catch their breath. It was gettinglate and about time for dinner and Gracie Mae was starving. “Would you like togo out to dinner with me?” asked Johnny, “We could get some delicious squid,some small crustaceans, and some really good mackerel. But that’s only if youwould like too.” Gracie Mae got butterflies because she had never felt likethis before. She answered Johnny in excitement, “I would love to go to dinnerwith you.”
After a wonderful night out, Gracie Mae and Johnnydecided to spend more time together swimming through the oceans cool waters.They spent every waking moment together. They went ‘rooster tailing’, which iswhen they take their fins and make a distinctive splash, which helps aid theiridentification.
Over the next few months, Gracie Mae and Johnnybecome closer and closer. They were inseparable. One night Johnny and GracieMae are out on a date and there is a feeling of love in the water. Johnny takesGracie Mae to dinner and he consumes twice as much food as the bottlenosedolphins. Even though they had a wonderful time, he is extremely nervousbecause the time has come to where he wants to ask Gracie Mae to marry him. Heswims over to Gracie Mae and says, “Gracie Mae, ever since I met you that onespring day when you were trapped in the gillnet, I knew you would be mine. Youhad that sparkle in your eye. I have spent the last few months spending timewith you and now I have fallen in love. I have one thing to ask. GracieMae…Will you have my fin in marriage?” Gracie Mae was echolocation less.Millions of thoughts were running through her mind and she finally answered inher girly voice once again, “Johnny, I would love to have your fin inmarriage!”
After the Johnny and Gracie Mae were married theycontinued to swim along the coast of California enjoying their new lifetogether. Fall was soon approaching and Gracie Mae had the feeling that it wastime for them to reproduce. She knew that fall and spring were the only seasonsshe was capable of reproducing, and she didn’t want to have to wait untilspring came the next year. Johnny was excited to start a family too.
Through the next 10 to 11 months Gracie Mae became plumpand round. Instead of being 6 feet 11 inches and weighing 400 pounds, she was 7feet long and she weighed 450 pounds. She couldn’t wait until June because shewanted to have the baby porpoise. She knew that when the baby porpoise was bornhe would, be around 3 feet 4 inches long and weigh around 24 pounds, and if itwere a male he would grow up to be between 7 feet 3 inches and 7 feet 10 inchesand weigh between 370 and 440 pounds.
After their son Johnny Jr. was born in June, thefamily decided to follow the seasonal migration pattern and travel to theBering Sea for the summer and return back to the Coast of California in thewinter. The water temperature was too cold and they needed to live in waterwhere the temperature was between 3 degrees and 20 degrees Celsius. For thenext 20 years, Johnny Jr. would follow that migration pattern because aporpoise’s lifespan normally ends after 15 to 20 years of living.
Even though, Gracie Mae and Johnny are getting olderand their son Johnny Jr. is still very young, they all live together happily inthe ocean waters.