Wednesday, May 16th, 2001
Today was largely a work day for most of us. We all arrived at the lab at around 7:45 so the new participants could get their fish prep lecture. I figured I'd probably need a refresher into how to do the fish prep, but it turns out I knew all I needed to know anyway and I didn't stick around for the whole tutorial. Chris and Mike were cleaning the front Mauka tank with brushes, so I decided to give them a hand doing that instead. There is one interesting thing about how the lab cleans the tank now compared to how they used to. Last year, when the tanks had to be cleaned, they lowered the water level down to below the level of the channel between the tanks to prevent water flow between the two tanks. Now, they move the dolphins into one tank like last year, and put the big wooden wall in to block the water flow. It doesn't perfectly seal the water off, but the pump seems perfectly capable of keeping the water level normal in the one tank with the other completely drained for cleaning.
Scrubbing the tank is actually quite a lot of work.
Most of the morning consisted of some research sessions, including an echolocation to echolocation matching cross modal matching session with Phoenix. She didn't do very well, and Dr. Pack was quite confused as to why that would be. He seemed aware of particular ones she commonly got wrong in the past, but he was still confused as to why she didn't get the other ones in the set. Actually, all the dolphins seem to be interested in right now is each other. My brother Geoff told me that Ashleigh and he saw Hiapo "getting it on" with Akeakamai earlier in the day. You can tell Hiapo is ONLY interested in the ladies right now...
During second session,
Luckily, I finished on time to catch most of the 3rd session and to see the "free" sessions with the dolphins. By now, the clean tank had been filled and the dolphins had been moved over with the back makai tank left to drain, so the water was very clean and blue (although still a little cloudy from the new pump).
One of the neatest things the dolphins can do now is how they can toss you the ball from their pec fins. I first saw Ake do thisyesterday with one of the interns, but today Julia, one of the participants, was playing ball with Phoenix and her way of passing the ball back to Julia was to do a straight jump in the air and throw it towards her. It's hard to describe, but it's very impressive. Pho doesn't really move her pec fins but manages to jump out of the water from a standstill so fast the ball leaves and shoots forward of her body. I hope to get some video of it in my next session.
After that session, Scott and Lara brought all the participants out to the park beside the lab to partake in a little training game.
I was trainer for Geoff, and my task was to get Geoff to log roll down a hill. I managed to get him to go to the hill, and he even managed to start log rolling after a while, but it wasn't down the hill... then I had to reverse train and reinforce him for standing up and turning another direction. Eventually, he got it. When I was "dolphin", Julia was my "trainer". She did everything she could to get me to do what she wanted, but all I did was stand by the road with this expandable plastic ball thing on my head while cars drove by. It was quite funny actually... a bunch of people were cheering me on as they drove past! I was supposed to do "I'm a little tea cup", but I couldn't figure out that one hand was supposed to be on my hips while the other extended out. Remember, all I could do is do things and wait for a click to see if I was right. It was a fun game.
We've been playing poker and talking it up at the resident house tonight, having lots of fun. Sophie and Sharron have been more than patient with the rantings and ravings of Geoff, Leonard and me while we threw insults at each other. No early morning stuff to do, so we'll be leaving at around 7:45 to make the 8:30 presession.
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You may use the pictures and content from this page for school and personal use ONLY. Please feel free to use the pictures as your desktop background, in school projects, or give them to friends, as long as they are unmodified. The material on this site is NOT permitted to be used on other websites or for comercial use without written permisson from Rob Harrison.
Feel free to email me if you have ANY questions or comments, and be sure to sign my guestbook!