A few years ago I managed to gather our family in a beach house on North Carolina’s Emerald Isle for Thanksgiving week. I’m still overjoyed when I think of it. We walked the beach, played in the waves, collected lost treasures, watched dolphins, danced, cooked, explored the island, and bonded. Some met our baby granddaughter or new son-in-law for the first time. Our three-year-old grandson met the ocean. He ran 50 yards to escape an incoming wave. How was he to know how far that wave would chase him? My mother, who was still adjusting to life without her husband […]
While camping on Carlsbad Beach in California, I noticed an ad for a ride in a biplane. Barnstormers! Wilbur and Orville! Snoopy and Red Baron! Two for the price of one! Janene revved high spirits as we opened our pickup doors, “You look like you came from Colorado!” Enthusiasm flowed as she briefed us, checking for hazards: “Are you wearing earrings, Ann? Tuck your hood in, so it won’t pull. I have a vest if you’re cold.” I especially appreciated these efforts because I was so nervous about getting airsick, I’d taken two pills, and they were making me slow […]
What does it take to make a superhero flight at parks like Dolphins Plus? Two uber-educated dolphin specialists like Krista and Hunter–one to direct the dolphins, one to direct the “hero”. I played the improbable, hero with marginal swimming and direction taking skills. A photographer, and two exquisitely trained dolphins round out the team, though a group of enthusiastic spectators will add flare. The team makes the stunts look easy, but having played the hero, I marvel at the chemistry. When I missed grabbing BB’s dorsal fin for a team pull, Isaac idled forward allowing me to catch BB and get situated before they punched it. That coordination is child’s play for dolphins. They regularly […]
A dolphin named Tanner whistled wheezy squeals as Emily Guarino, Administrative Director of Research, explained the research games we would ask him to play. Maybe because the sound came from his blowhole instead of his mouth, I couldn’t be sure where it came from. Emily said that the sound is associated with high levels of dopamine, meaning Tanner was indisputably HAPPY. He was excited to play research games with me. Imagine my dopamine level. Many thanks to the dedicated staff at Dolphin Research Center who engineered that joy-fest.