It was one of those rare moments where one has a vision of the scope of the wild ocean. Not just small cylinders firing to keep a tiny engine running, but rather the giant, massive gears of nature, each one with its own reasoning, its own meta-logic, spinning in its particular circle in competition or in confluence with the gear below it. We zeroed in on the school, but our progress was painfully slow, It would have been foolish to speed into the tumult-we would have ruined our baits in the process and doomed our chances of hooking a tuna. But luckily, the commotion did not subside. If anything it only grew more frantic and exhuberant on our approach. Beneath the birds, beneath the dolphins, beneath the menhaden, there should have been an equally vast school of giant bluefin tuna, collaborating with vertebrates of the so-called higher orders of life to form the floor of the prey trap, sealing the baitfish in from below, while the dolphins and birds made up the trap's walls and ceiling. A strike from a giant tuna seemed inevitable.....as the boat moved forward, I saw seabirds gathering up ahead into a cloud, the size and violence of which I had never seen before. Gannets - big, albatross-like pelagic birds - flew hundreds of feet above the churning surface of the water. In a flock of many thousands, they whirled in unison and then, as if on command from some brigadier general of bird life, dropped in an arc, bird after bird, into the water beneath. The gyre of gannets turned in a clockwise direction, and down below, spinning counterclockwise, was the largest school of dolphins I'd ever seen. There in the angry blue-green sea, the dolphins had corralled a vast school of menhaden-small herringlike creatures that, when bitten, release globules of oil that float on the surface. Oil slicks flattened the water everywhere as the dolphins swirled around, using their exceptional intelligence and wolf-pack cooperation to befuddle and surround the fish, which in turn whirled in a clockwise direction.
Yes, sir, but the Librarian likes bananas, sir.""Very nourishin' fruit, Mr Stibbons.""Yes, sir. Although, funnily enough it's not actually a fruit, sir.""Really?""Yes, sir. Botanically, it's a type of fish, sir. According to my theory it's cladistically associated with the Krullian pipefish, sir, which of course is also yellow and goes around in bunches or shoals.""And lives in trees?""Well, not usually, sir. The banana is obviously exploiting a new niche.""Good heavens, really? It's a funny thing, but I've never much liked bananas and I've always been a bit suspicious of fish, too. That'd explain it.