Tursiops, Turtles, Training and Fiesta!

Another very packed day was had by all of us! Our boat was waiting for us at 6:15 AM for our aquatic trek to Bailey’s Key. The dolphins were waiting. We also spent time in the classroom today – to view the video data from the morning session and practice our ID recognition! We also received a talk about sea turtles from Jen, RIMS Education Director and a talk about training from Teri, enthusiastic Head Trainer, and half of us got to spend today’s last training session with Teri and Poli (a dolphin, see cover photo) while the rest of us got a close observation of Gracie, Elli, and Calli and their calves. (We will switch those sessions on Friday afternoon!). Our evening wrapped up with AKR’s Fiesta Night … see the end of this report, after our impressions, for the fiesta wrap up!

Jewel – Today I enjoyed seeing the dolphins up close and being able to learn their identifiers in person and not from the video. I feel like I can better identify them now.

Catie – The highlight of the day was getting kisses from Poli and I really enjoyed learning about how use of positive reinforcement is the most successful way to train.

Mica – I loved learning about the relationship between training and husbandry and how it can be applied in zoos as well.

Camille – I really liked learning about the training techniques and the psychology involved because I can relate it to a lot of things that I do back home with the dogs, the horses, and even people.

Jess – I really liked learning about the different species of turtles and some of the surprising conservation efforts in place to protect them.

Brooke – It’s been fun to learn about other marine animals besides dolphins and I also learned that being a dolphin trainer is probably one of the coolest jobs!

Paige – I really liked the talk about sea turtles today and how we are trying to preserve them the best we can. And, I really liked observing the calves and moms interact during the training session. It was really cute.

Dallas – I also really enjoyed the dolphin kisses and Poli’s got the quite the swagger with her tail walk.

Mai – Today I learned that I’ve been severely underestimating sea turtles. They survive their treacherous walk as a hatchling and remember the beaches they were born on. All with the brain the size of a grape!

Andrea – so I really enjoyed the sea turtle lecture although I was a little sad to learn that some people make jewelry out of turtle shells.

Robert – my favorite part of the day was watching the dolphin moms feed while their calves got to play around.

Amindra – I really enjoyed learning about a different career path (dolphin trainer) we could take and what that would entail for us.

Cassie – Today, I learned just how bad shrimp fishing practices are and then proceeded to eat my first fish (not shrimp) taco.

Aly – these past few days I became confident in a career path as a marine biologist but after today I haven’t narrowed it down and also want to be a dolphin trainer and work in conservation.

Alexis – I enjoyed the animal training lecture and learning about the details that go into it and solidifying what I have wanted to do since I was 8 years old.

Manon – Morning session was very good and with amazing underwater visibility and hopefully we will have the same for our swim tomorrow.

Ron – That I can share being so focused in the water that I lose track of what’s overhead with Kathleen who had an encounter of the bump kind.

Dr. K. – Fiesta time!

Fiesta introduced us to the Garifuna dancers (impressive!), hermit crab races, a limbo contest, and dancing. And, Camille is our limbo queen! She won the limbo contest – woohoo!

We will all need to set our alarms for tomorrow!

Until tomorrow,

DCP & the CSU Rams Abroad 2022 group 1

P.S. we did get a 10-minute break after lunch … digestion in the sun was recharging!