TDI 2001Home1245789101112131415fin

Saturday, May 19th, 2001

Not too much to talk about today. I woke up at 9:30 and caught up on the journals for Thursday and Friday until Leonard and Geoff woke up. Everyone else had left early to go snorkling. I wish I had known they were going, because I would have gone too. I've never been snorkling before and I think Hawaii would have been a great place to start. Oh well.

Geoff got up first at around 11, and Leonard showed his face around 1 or so.
Mike with Ake
Mike, one of the spring interns, with Hiapo (click for bigger picture)
We decided to go over to Comp USA, a computer store, to see if they could do digital prints for the digital pictures I have taken of various people at the lab working with the dolphins. The response I've gotten from some of my pictures has been amazing. Obviously because of space constraints I can't possibly post every picture I take on this site, but when others saw some of the images, they were very impressed and asked if I could make them some prints for them. Hopefully I'll be able to do that before I leave, but unfortunately Comp USA doesn't provide this service. I did find out about a place not far from CompUSA called Snapshot that apparently does do digital prints, so maybe tomorrow I'll check them out.

Leonard and I decided to go to the lab to hang out for a while since niether of us had anything to do. Geoff tagged along as well and we played around with the computers while we watched the dolphins and I continued to work on sorting the many pictures I had taken this last week.

When dinner time rolled around, Geoff and I walked to Jack in the box again and he left for the house after that. I still wanted to work on stuff at the lab, so I went back and met with Leonard. After it got dark, things started to get rather interesting. Tank cleaning had already been done earlier in the day and the half drained tanks (only done on Saturdays for a full cleaning) were getting close to the same level at this point. I was working on my laptop out on the deck of the tower and could see the dolphins, especially Ake and Phoenix, constantly looking over through the channel to see how much longer it would be until the other side was full. I think maybe Hiapo was starting to get on their nerves with his constant sexual inuendos. I was told that I could open the metal gate for them once the water has up so the channel was beginning to flood. When I went down to open it, all the dolphins were sitting at the gate, waiting patiently for someone to let them into their new, clean tank. I opened the gate, and as I've seen before, Hiapo was the first to attempt to cross. He didn't get a very good run at it though and stopped part way through, so he backed himself up back into the first tank and waited for a while. Ake and Pho didn't even attempt to cross; this is fairly typical of them.

Leonard though it'd be a good idea to play some music for the dolphins. I thought it'd be an interesting thing to try; maybe it'll help them to cross. He tried the crappy little black stereo they have in the tower, but the dolphins didn't seem to care much, so he went down to the front lanai and grabbed the sony waterproof yellow stereo they usually use when playing music to the dolphins. He brought it up to the tower and started playing "Nothing Else matters" by Metallica, one of the band's more mellow tunes. The dolphins didn't really seem to care much, but halfway through the song, Hiapo made a mad dash towards the channel. At first, Ake and Pho were just swimming calmly near the front of the tank, but the minute Hiapo started charging, almost the instant he started his speed swim, Ake and Pho changed directions and also swam full speed towards the channel. All of them shot through the channel at full speed and plopped into the clean tank.

We continued the music to see what types of songs they would like. Nearly all of the songs on the CD Leonard had mixed were rock alternative music, with varying tempos and instrumentation. We played a few songs with little or no response at all, but when Leonard started playing "Tomorrow" by Silverchair and then skipped it, I was sure I saw the dolphins react in some way or another. Leonard didn't want to listen to that one at that point so he moved on to some heavier stuff. All the while, the girls were starting to distance themselves from Hiapo and had moved into the front tank again. Hiapo started acting rather strangely, moving around in very pronounced, jerky movements. He did this for a few minutes, then dashed across the now half-full channel between the tanks and in with Akeakamai and Phoenix. He started chasing them, seemingly biting at their bodies and pushing with his rostrum, and eventually forced them into the other tank. At this point, the music had moved to some heavy metal: a song by a band called Disturbed, called "Down with the Sickness". That's when things REALLY got interesting...

Hiapo was still chasing Ake and Pho around. Ake was winning the chase from what I could tell, and Hiapo gave up on her and started chasing Phoenix around. Phoenix seemed less like she was trying to get away and more like she was just playing around with him. Guitars were screaming from the stereo. Things seemed to be moving away from Pho resisting Hiapo and more towards her accepting her fate. The stereo cried out. One thing led to another, and, well, you get the idea. The funny thing was, Hiapo almost seemed like he didn't know how to do it right! He was sort of at the surface, lying on his side with Pho beside him. He would try, but would brush accross Pho and usually completely miss his target. He wasn't assuming the position I had seen dolphins do in documentaries. Leonard and I didn't know whether to look away or keep watching. I guess there's nothing wrong with seeing nature take it's course, is there? =)

Mike with Ake
Hiapo playing in the water tap suspended from the tower above the tank. He will sit there for 10 or 15 mins at a time and snap the water in and out of his mouth (click for bigger picture)
After a while, Leonard moved back into the tower to check on his downloads and I stayed outside working on my laptop. Once the song was over that was playing, i tried moving back to "Tomorrow" by silverchair to see if the dolphins indeed had reacted to the sound of that song like I thought. Last year, Sean had been going to the lab almost every night to play music for the dolphins and I had asked him what they seemed to enjoy. I seem to remember him telling me about slower songs, usually ones with acoustic guitar and higher pitched vocals and melodies being their favorites. This song seemed to fit the bill perfectly.

As soon as I turned it on, I noticed a response from the dolphins. Ake was the first I noticed. She seemed to slowly change her course to put her directly beneith the tower in the makai tank. It wasn't obvious, but more of a subtle change. Phoenix did the same shortly after that, and eventually Hiapo drifted into the channel, keeping his distance from the girls. They just sort of sat there, and Ake would whistle every once in a while like she commonly does. I think they liked it... =) A few other songs seemed to do simlilar things, all with the criteria I mentioned: slower, acoustic guitar with high vocals and melodies. I guess we figured out what heavy metal does for them too... =)

I'm going to come in early tomorrow to catch some of the "free" sessions with the interns. Hopefully I'll get some good pictures like I did last year on those sort of days.

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