Another early morning data collection session – an hour today with awesome underwater visibility (10 m plus) and very social, interactive dolphins. All four young calves were given the opportunity to inspect Kathleen and her green camera … with each mom hanging in the background so the calves did not get too close for too long. Actually, the dolphins might have requested Amanda’s clipboard so that they could document their observations of Kathleen. With their rostrums, the dolphins attempted to flip the clipboard over after it slipped into the sea and inadvertently tasted the data sheets. Obviously, they are not interested in written notes since the clipboard only held their attention for about 2 to 4 minutes.
Sarah participated in the dolphin dive this morning with Hector and Ritchie. The humans were struggling in the current but not the dolphins – they were just gliding by and hardly moving their tails. If I were a dolphin in that situation I would have laughed at the humans because of how funny we looked. It’s humbling to watch them and their effortless movements underwater.
Everyone did the snorkel with dolphins – awesome! So cool! We got to play with the dolphins as opposed to just watching them. We recognized their scars and marks and their personalities. It was fun to play with the calves too … and the moms let them play with us. The dolphins were mouthy and pulled at elbows, legs or hands. The seaweed game was a favorite as well.
The last event for today was a talk by Teri, Director of Training. She shared with us details about operant conditioning and the philosophy of working with these dolphins – beginning with always having a good, positive attitude. It was interesting to see how her mind works and how she works with the dolphins.
We have another dolphin swim and more data to be collected tomorrow!
Kathleen, Amanda, Amber, Kristin, Sarah