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Just as in the real world where horses were tamed to travel long distances quickly across land, would it be realistic for an animal to be tamed and used as an aquatic mount for quick transport around say, an archipelago of islands?

If so, what would their biology be like?

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  • $\begingroup$ Aquatic mount for humans? $\endgroup$ – Cem Kalyoncu Oct 25 '19 at 20:41
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    $\begingroup$ Could you be specific if these mounts will be submerged or on the surface? In other words, are they carrying humans in dive suits, or do the humans need to breath air at the surface? Also, do they need cargo (like a trunk of a car or saddle bags)? $\endgroup$ – Vogon Poet Oct 25 '19 at 21:02
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Surface: Ducks, or giant swans. Sit on the back of the animal, and you can attach reigns to the bill. These mounts do not need to be capable of flight, so the wings can be modified or absent. Modified wings could be used as sails by the animal, or to protect against the weather. The underside could be smooth skin rather than water repellent feathers that would become waterlogged on long journeys

Submerged: A whale, or orca, but its blowhole is expanded into a large cavity that runs down its back. The animal would need to surface to breathe periodically, and would refresh the chamber's air at the same time. Could carry multiple people in the air chamber, depending on the size of the animal.

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Something like dolphins should do. Trained to swim near the surface, hold on to a harness with your hand. No different from a horse back in the day I would think. EVeryone who can afford it get's their own, either trains it or buys a trained one.

I can't think of a single reason you'd need to sit on a saddle except perhaps have both hands free.

Or train them like huskies to pull a small boat instead of a sled. Harnesses should be easy to design.

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  • $\begingroup$ If the boat is buoyant enough, that will also tend to discourage your swimmers trying to dive too deep. But you also need it wide enough that they don't just tip it over and sink it. However, you also want to minimize surface contact (i.e. drag). So, you probably want to use catamarans, or something else with outriggers. You might even be able to strap your swimmers in between pontoons, though this might make it hard for them to turn. $\endgroup$ – Matthew Nov 1 '19 at 23:18
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The house-boat is placed on plesiosaurs and tightened with two strong ropes. The animal is commanded like a horse.

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If the islands are close enough together, most mammal species that humans ride might be able to swim from island to island. I once read that most land mammals, except for primates, are strong natural swimmers.

Horses swim. Donkeys swim. Mules swim. Camels swim. Elephants swim.

I note that humans swimmers often attach swim fins to improve their swimming, and swim fins could be made to attach to the limbs of various land mammals to improve their swimming.

One or more trained cetaceans might pull a boat by holding in their mouths a bar attacked by ropes or chains to the boat. One or more trained cetaceans might put their heads to the back of the boat and push it across the ocean.

I guess that teams of trained land mammals might also be able to pull or push a boat from island to island if the distance is small enough.

And of course a small boat might be built like an elephant's howdah and strapped to the back of a large cetacean for a trip between islands.

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