Sunday, August 10, 2008

Remember Corky?

As you may have guessed, I haven't blogged lately because I have been on vacation. It's been a fantastic two weeks including a week with my older grandson Nick here in LA and then a week with all of the kids, kids-in-law, and grandkids in San Diego. We did so many different things that it seems longer than two weeks and it will take me awhile to catch up.

One of the things we did together was to go to SeaWorld. It was right across the bay from our condo on Mission Bay in San Diego. In fact, we watched the fireworks from the condo every night at 10:00 pm before going to bed. Any trip to SeaWorld has to include viewing the killer whale show for which they are famous. We sat out in the blazing hot sun on even hotter aluminum benches to see the 11:00 am show called "Believe." The first whale to rise up into the air and make a huge splash was introduced as Corky. Could this be the same Corky that I remembered from Marineland, I thought? The one that made headlines all the time when she gave birth to baby whales? The one that was sold to SeaWorld and taken away from us? Turns out, yes it is.

Corky (Corky II) is now approximately 43 years old, still performing, and from what I could tell, loving it. Orca whales can live to be 70 years old, but her mate from Marineland, Orky II, died in 1988 at age 26, after siring 7 calves with Corky (none of whom lived more than 46 days) and two more with other females. One of these later babies, Orkid, still survives and lives with Corky in San Diego. Corky became Orkid's surrogate mother when the calf was orphaned and now Orkid is very protective of the aging Corky.

There was a big brouhaha when Marineland was sold to SeaWorld in 1987 and the whales moved to San Diego. We loved Marineland and would take all visiting relatives there to see the whales, dolphins, and aquariums. It was right in our backyard, so to speak. However, the tanks at Marineland were small and that may have been the reason that Corky's babies did not survive. Also, since she was captured in the wild when she was only 4 or 5, she didn't know how to nurse her babies. But to add insult to injury, when the whales became part of the San Diego marine park, they were all referred to as "Shamu," SeaWorld's stage name for all their killer whales. So I was surprised and pleased to hear Corky referred to by her own name. After 39 years in captivity, she deserves it.

There were three whales in the show on Thursday, August 7th, but Corky was the only one introduced by name. It was good to see her again. After the show, I bought my younger grandson a plush toy whale and firmly told him that the whale's name was "Corky" not "Shamu."


  1. Nick said "Great Picture" i have to agree. It was a great time. We cant wait to see the rest of the photos.

  2. I think there was actually 4 whales at the show? I remember seeing 3 in the tank close to us and then Corky, the largest whale, was in the tank on the other side of the show tank.

    I loved the show and the great time we all had in San Diego!