Day 4
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Thursday, June 8th, 10PM:

Today was fairly uneventful compared to the last two days. I didn’t have a local, but a few things still happened that are worth mentioning
Elele and Hiapo at window
Elele and Hiapo checking out what's going on in the front lanai (click for bigger picture)

One thing in particular is worth mentioning. Just after pre-session, Hiapo and Elele were looking at us through the front lanai windows while myself and a few others just sat around and did nothing. They stayed there for quite a while, and were kind of squeaking a little, so I assumed they wanted to play. I got up and stood up on the platform in front of the windows to bring me up to their level. Immediately, Ellie (I like to call her that) popped her head up to the surface and stuck her rostrum (nose) through the gap in the guards where I was positioned. I said a few things, like "hey, how’s it goin’? You wanna play?", and since her rostrum was right in front of me, I leaned forward a little to give her a little kiss. Quite to my surprise, she pushed rather hard against my mouth when I did that. I was rather confused at the time, so I stepped down from the stand. She gave every indication that she just wanted to play, but I guess when she stuck her head out as far out of the rails as she did, I should have realized she might have been in a weird mood. It could be that she was just trying to get closer at the same time I did, but still... Ellie is proving more and more that she’s quite the little trickster.

I ended up doing the between trial interval timing for the Angular Resolution research session. I messed up once, but in the end it didn’t matter anyway. Hiapo did way better today than he did yesterday, although the trials were designed to be easier today since the research was all but finished.

We had a small lecture about a new task for the lab called session monitor. During a session, it is the session monitor's job to make sure the fish room is clean and free from Ajax residue, put ice in the fish buckets while the trainers are working with the dolphins, and change the fish bucket water if need be. Fairly simple. The idea being that everything is as sanitary and the fish are as fresh as possible.

We attended a lecture on how to match humpback whale tail fluke photographs during 2nd session. The whale team at the facility is obviously short of people to help sort all the photos, so they asked the dolphin people to donate some of their time when they can. So far, I haven’t volunteered for it.

At lunch hour, Scott gave a presentation on some research he did with Chimpanzies relative to object/symbol/sketch relationship. It was fairly interesting, although fairly long too due to Dr. Pack’s and Dr. Herman constantly adding things to the conversation. They made some good points relative to how Scott compared if A=B then therefore B=A when relating to language. Dr. Herman’s comment was that if monkey=animal, animal is not equal to monkey, and so you can’t use a mathematical definition for a language. I must admit, most of it was way over my head, but it was interesting nonetheless.

After the lecture, I walked aimlessly around the tanks for while, checking out the dolphin’s moods to see if they wanted something to do.
Akeakamai with a horseball
Akeakamai plays around with a horseball, one of the many dolphin toys (click for bigger picture)
Someone had already tossed a few large horseballs in the tank (big buoy type things with a rubber handle), and eventually Ake and Phoenix started swimming around with one in their mouths. I figured I’d give it another go playing with Ake and the buoy, only this time I would pay more attention to Phoenix if she came over. Ake seemed content to pull the buoy below water and let go, sending it bobing a few inches off the water. She seemed content playing by herself, so I left her alone. A few minutes later, I saw Ake swimming beside me while I walked around the tank exterior. She went over to the low window near the middle of the tank along with Phoenix, and then came back up. I could tell they were trying to tell me something. Ake tried to kick the buoy with her tail, but missed, and went back down to look at me through the window. Ah, so that's the game... a game of pass (or hit the human, one of the two). I then told her to kick it again (verbally of course) and I held my hands out waiting to catch it. Actually, she did a fairly good kick, lobbing it straight up in the air towards me, I just couldn’t catch it because the sun blocked my view and I missed it. I was kind of bummed about that. She kicked another one out of the tank after that, only this time she didn’t aim for me, but rather blasted it towards the beach beside the facility; the one OVER the wall of the facility! This means this 10 pound rubber ball thing went flying over the lab wall and landed on the beach walkway occupied by a few fisherman. I hope they were paying attention. I had to go get it out of the ocean from all the way around the other side of the facility. Oh well.

I have seen Ake kick the buoys and other toys out of the water before, but never before had she made any indication she was going to do it. This time, she seemed like she wanted me to know for some reason. Considering how good a kick it was, I think she was trying to play pass with me. Maybe it's just a coincidence...

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