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Day 13: Our Holiday - Dolphins R US Part 2 of 2

Posted 23-07-2009 at 10:46 PM by Rasher

(posted by Jessica) Continued....
After meeting my trainer she showed me where they prepare all of the animals' food and medicines. We then went down to feed the sea-lions. They were so cute. They had one boy, called Kilo, who was eight year old, and they had two girls, one named Renee and the other, Karen, and both were twenty-two years of age. Twenty-two was a really old age for sea-lions and once they get older, they start to have problems. One of the main problems they have is that their eyesight tends to go. Karen was almost completely blind, and felt around with her whiskers, and Renee had hearing problems and a bum flipper. It seemed that at her old job, she hurt her flipper and it formed into a really nasty lump, therefore causing her to occasionally limp. They both get eye-drops so that their eyesight couldn't get any worse, and Renee had a special cream so it soothed the pain a bit. They weren't exactly sure what had happened to her flipper so they have to x-ray her, however, they need to train her how to react when they do x-ray her. They have to train her by trying to keep her flipper still on a blue board, which imitates the similar equipment they would use for the x-ray. They use objects similar to the equipment so that when they do come to x-raying her she'll think 'Oh, I know what to do with this stuff, because I do this everyday' and it won't panic her as much. Renee used to live at Sea World and they used to let people feed her all day long, so she only got basic training and became a tad chubby. Karen on the other hand used to live at Universal Studios and had a lot of training. They both moved to a Golf place (can't remember the name of the place for the life of me) and lived their together for five years before moving to the Dolphin Research Centre.

Afterwards I went to play with the dolphins. That was so much fun. I met A.J, Tanner and Kibby, and I saw them do tricks (somersaults, speed run and imitations including giggles and shark imitations), fetch a ball, go through hoops and they kindly got me a present (which was seaweed but oh well).

Thirdly, the main trainer I was with showed me what medical treatment they give to the dolphins and how they told the dolphins that it wasn't a real test and that they were just practising. The dolphin that they were showing the procedures on, to me, was very well trained and was very well behaved. It opened my eyes to that there is more to being a trainer than meets the eye.

Once we had lunch I went to have a t-shirt painted. The dolphin named Kibby painted my t-shirt with the colours pink and silver. It was very artistic and I got to keep the t-shirt.

Once my beautifully painted t-shirt was finished one of the trainers taught me the signals used to train the dolphins. Sandy (the dolphin who I did the training with, and is a boy) did occasionally not do the command I told him to, but they just reckoned he was playing about.

After that was done they were doing training on Tanner so I thought that I would watch. What they were doing was they were seeing how long he could keep a thought in his head. Basically one of the trainers put one of his toys in one of three buckets and another trainer (not knowing which bucket the toy is in) makes Tanner wait a certain time and after that time period is over he asks which bucket the toy is in. All four times Tanner got it right.

I then had a little break before doing the Dolphin Encounter which is where you get to swim with the dolphins. We firstly felt the dolphins and then they imitated us. Then we got to swim with them. It was amazing and they were so fast. I could feel their tails hitting me with such force. But the encounter was over very quickly and I was a bit disappointed as to how long it lasted. Meanwhile Luke was having a dunk with the dolphins. He was doing the Meet The Dolphin thing I did two years ago!

After a long day we went back to our hotel and had a little swim in the pool. At the pool I met the girl who was on the other side of the float in the Dolphin Encounter. I made really good friends with her. It seemed she wasn't very happy with the amount of time she had with the dolphins on the Dolphin Encounter, however I was luckier because I had the whole day with them, so I felt a bit bad. Once our long session in the pool was over we had dinner in a nearby restaurant. The food was quite nice and we found out if dad goes around 10 times (in his wheelchair) in a circle) right after eating, it makes him feel very sick and dizzy . When our long day drew to an end, we went and had a long nights sleep.

Photos will be going up soon (there is loads of them)
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  1. Old Comment
    Gunn (LA)'s Avatar
    I am so envious Jess, swiming with Dolpins is so cool.

    Have to try it next time I'm in Florida, you may be the trainer who show's me around
    Posted 26-07-2009 at 03:51 AM by Gunn (LA) Gunn (LA) is offline
 
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