The day dawned behind a giant black cloud but it only drizzled a tad bit while Kathleen was in the water between 6:30 and 7 AM. The morning data session yielded 30 min of video and the dolphins were VERY curious and swarmed Kathleen during her session. The dolphins were very vocal and very close to me, Kathleen.
Sarah and Amber were one pair of observers at the 3rd stabilizing dock and Fiona, a juvenile dolphin, repeatedly brought sea grass to them to play with; however, we took to heart Kathleen’s instructions of not being tempted by the dolphin gifts. We did not want to “break protocol” by playing with the dolphins or by distracting them from their social games. So, it seems, Fiona was offended by our rejection of her gifts. She side-breached and splashed us! Fiona is pictured here (taken by K. Grubbs, then A. Thomas). We also watched Ken watch us with one eye and follow Kathleen’s fins with an open mouth … he seemed to want to be sure we could see him playing at her fins!
Amanda and Kristin were splashed as the session ended and we all were leaving the main pool area. But, the dolphins seemed to follow us around vocalizing as we walked.
We spent 2.5 hrs in the classroom this morning and then the afternoon provided an introduction to the dolphins – up close and personal. We got to see the dolphins as they were working with trainers during the late afternoon training session. There are four calves younger than 6 months. They are really cool but a couple of the moms are not as watchful of their young as others. During sessions, the trainers have taught moms to retrieve their calves when maybe they are playing around. It seems that Gracie at first misunderstood the trainer and brought a piece of sea grass back! She got it right the third try! Mika was having too much fun with her trainer and seemed exasperated when she had to retrieve her calf … she sighed, dropped her head and rolled her eyes and then t-boned him and pushed him back to the platform. Of course, he had been playing around upside down! Quite entertaining for us!
We also watched Bill and Ronnie work a tandem-create behavior – they had to make a new behavior together. It was very neat watching them work together on a new behavior.
A late afternoon snorkel session introduced us to the crustaceans and fish of the local reef. We look forward to more data and more class work tomorrow.
Kathleen, Amber, Amanda, Kristin, and Sarah