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Friday, May 18th, 2001

Today was picture day... well sort of. I didn't have a local, and neither did anyone else except Leonard.
You can tell how smart Akeakamai is just by looking into her eyes. (click here for a lager version)
I was timer for first session for a visual to visual cross modal match paradyme with Hiapo, but I didn't do my task very well. The timer I was given had a messed-up button on it that made the timer start and stop every few times when you pressed it. As a result, a few of the times weren't as accurate as they should have been, but all was not lost. I was timing the response time of Hiapo between when the two choices were displayed and when he actually chose one of them.

At first, I thought Dr. Herman was doing this type of paradyme so he could introduce the possibilty of a rotated choice (rotated 180 degrees, for example) from the original sample. I had seen this last year when Dr. Potter suggested trying a rotated object for a choice... it was done correctly the first time between echolocation to sight. I know they do plan to study this further, but right now the reason for the visual to visual matching is to develop Hiapo's ability to match samples.
Akeakamai doing a dolphin leap
Ake does one of her traditionally high dolphin leaps. (click here for a lager version)
Once he gets proficient with visual to visual, they will introduce him to echolocation to echolocation, visual to echolocation, and vice versa. He's just getting used to the idea of matching.

I was able to help with gating after second session. This isn't a difficult job, but an interesting one. Echolocation to echolocation cross modal had just been run with Phoenix, and this meant there were three boxes to take out of the makai tank. Sometimes, a staff member will get in the water with the dolphins to get the boxes out if need be, but it isn't a regular occurance. Usually the dolphins are too hard to control when this happens, and they don't know what could happen, especially when Haipo is getting particularly hormonal. To make things easier, once trials are completed, the trainers move the dolphins into the mauka tank and someone closes the gate to be sure they won't come back over to the boxes. I pulled the gate closed when I was told to, and the dolphins were content to sit by their trainers. I've seen times when Haipo will leave his trainer and go over to the gate, but usually when he's with "the ladies" he doesn't mind.
Peter with Ake
Peter, one of the Spring interns, working with Ake. (click here for a lager version)
Once someone was in the water to get the boxes out in the other tank, Hiapo left his trainer and went over to the gate I was holding shut. I was told to hold the latch in case he managed to try to unlatch it, as he has before. I saw Ake trying to do this last year one time. Hiapo just floated there, watching what was going on from under the water, and occasionally pushed on the gate a little. Then, he started to push a little harder, and a little harder. I think he knew he wasn't going to get it open, but he was still pushing at it. He was sort of figiting with it. I know that if he wanted to he could have pushed harder than he was, so I wasn't worried that much. He knows that thing won't be coming open that easily...

Once it was time to open it, Mike took over for me and pulled the thing open. All the dolphins were over by the gate at this point and immediately rushed into the other tank to see what was going on. Actually, I think Hiapo told them to go over there. I've seen Hiapo do a LOT of bossing around lately. He seems to be able to control the girls completely. If he doesn't want the girls in a different tank, he'll sit at the channel and guard it.
Mike with Ake
Mike, another of the Spring interns, working with Ake also. (click here for a lager version)
Every time he does this, the girls will sit parallel to each other in the tank, barely moving other than to take a breath. This always seems to happen during session too - the dolphins wait until a time when they need to behave before they decide to goof off. The minute Hiapo breaks away and stops "guarding", the girls immediately bolt off to get away from him... I find it kind of funny actually.

Geoff delcared today to be official "Go to Jack in the Box for Lunch Day". Far be it from me to refuse an official day, so I walked with Geoff to the closest Jack in the Box up Ward street about 5 or 6 blocks from the lab. It might seem lame to be so into a trip to a fast food restaurant, but being from Canada, we don't get to have Jack in the box very often. It was yummy... =)

I was session monitor for third and fourth sessions, leaving me with a lot of free time to take pictures. Mike was working with Ake and asked me to take a few pics for him. I've never taken staged pictures of the dolphins like this before. I'll have to do it more often, because they really worked out quite well. Even with all the great pictures I've taken, I'm still looking for a really REALLY good dolphin jump picture.
Student with Ake
A highschool student from Hawaii meets Akeakamai face to hand. (click here for a lager version)
Maybe I'm just being too critical of myself, but I guess until I get one I'm really happy with, I won't be satisfied. I'll just have to keep trying.

We also had a visitor to the lab today. She was a high school student from Hawaii interested in a career with marine mammals, and she was being brought around with Susie, the education coordinator for the lab. One of the things she did was get a chance to work with one of the dolphins, Akeakamai. It reminded me of my first time with one of the dolphins. This lucky girl was absolutely gitty with joy. I don't think that smile left her face until she left. It reminded me how lucky I was to be doing what I'm doing for these two weeks.

Tomorrow is a tank cleaning/husbandry day, so there isn't much to do for us participants. I'm probably going to see if I can find somewhere around here that will do digital prints for all the people at the lab who have asked for prints of the pictures I've taken, and maybe stop into the lab after that to help out a little.

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