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Tuesday, May 15th, 2001

Today was our first day at the lab this year, but it was like I never left... I remembered almost all of the hand signals and almost exactly how things were run around the place. I can remember my previous days here like they were yesterday, and not much has changed as far as the way the place is run.
Ake and Pho tailwalking
Akeakamai and Phoenix show off their tailwalking ability (click here for a bigger version)
I was able to help out with SO much today, because right now even the newly arrived summer interns are learning; normally they do everything for everyone. I was trying to lend a hand with anything I could, including a few of the research paradymes running that day that the other participants obviously couldn't help with until they were briefed on how they worked.

My 'introduction' local was with Akeakamai, along with one of the other participants, Sophie. Unfortunately, my brother Geoff and I couldn't be scheduled together because they needed my help with one of the research paradymes in the next session. Sophie was very nervous, but I helped her to understand what she needed to do, and I think she enjoyed it that much more as a result.
Ake and Pho tailwalking
Sophie, one of the participants, holds Ake's tail for the first time (click here for a bigger version)
She wanted me to go first so she could get a better idea of what she could do with Ake, so once Alanna said it was ok, up I went!

I was working with Ake opposite to some cross-modal research with Phoenix, so jumps and high engery were unfortunately out of the routine. That's ok. I was happy to just sit there and give Ake some rubs, hugs and kisses for a while. I once again forgot almost all of the things I wanted to try with her once she looked me in the eye.
Ake and Pho tailwalking
Craig plays the xylophone for Phoenix (click here for a bigger version)
That just seems to melt my heart, especially with Ake. She has so much of an energy about her; she so patient, and so enthusiastic, it's just a blast to work with her. Hopefully next time I'll be able to give a few more high energy combinations I've wanted to try.

The new pump they installed at the facility is causing the water to be a little murky from the extra sand and stuff it is sucking up from the ocean, but it's nothing bad for the dolphins or anything. Actually, the cloudiness isn't bad at all, but it makes window pictures a little hard to make out from today, so that's why there aren't any up here. Tomorrow they've scheduled tank cleaning for the two tanks so the tanks are perfectly clean. That is one thing they've changed since last time I was here: they clean the tanks twice a week now. I'm sure it makes the job a heck of a lot easier if the algae hasn't had time to really start to build on the tank walls. If you ask me, the tanks really don't need a cleaning, but I guess that's the point.

They needed a hand to get the cross-modal boxes out of the tank, and I was happy to jump in the tank and help out... no dolphins in the tank, but hey,
Ake and Pho tailwalking
Phoenix and Akeakamai get a "belly rub" from Craig, a different command from stomach present (click here for a bigger version)
I knew that tank quite well already from last year's tank cleaning. All kinds of people thought I was an intern or something, and I had to keep telling people that I wasn't... I'm just a lowly participant. =)

Geoff spent most of the day learning the ropes and stuff like that. I actually haven't had too much time to ask him how his day REALLY went. He just gave me a quick "Just fine" like he always does for everything. I hope he enjoyed it as much as I did. We went out to a mexican place and got 1 dollar tacos with everyone from the lab after everything was finished. They were probably the best tacos I've ever had, honestly. It was actually quite funny seeing 20 some people try to sit around a single round table in the patio corner of this restaurant... of course, the restaurant was packed, so packing the one table was our only choice anyway. Geoff didn't want to stick around the lab after dinner (I had to come back to the lab anyway to grab my bus pass they hadn't given me yet), so he went back to the house. Now I'm sitting here with Leonard, one of the participants who's been here for a month and a half already, typing this journal while he's surfing on the internet, and it's 9:30.

Maybe I'll go see what Ake is whistling at... =)

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