How to Train Your Dolphin
Swimming with Dolphins in Hawaii!
by Valerie Diaz, Chiff.com Tween Reporter
I had the pleasure of going along with the Chiff travel editors this summer to Hawaii!
I am proud to say that I got the chance to swim with the amazing, loving, and very talented dolphins at the Dolphin Quest program located at the Kahala Hotel and Resort in Honolulu.
Here's my report on this very cool experience:
Part of the 'Trainer for a Day' program at Dolphin Quest is doing everything that a trainer gets to do. The day started early at 7:00am, when I went to the trainer's office, got dressed in some swimming gear, and participated in taking a head count of all the animals in the six lagoons.
Not only does Dolphin Quest have dolphins in their lagoons, but other fish like sting rays and sea turtles! (Later in the day I even got to feed the sea turtles!)
After making sure all the animals were accounted for I got to learn how to identify each dolphin.
They included Lono (lo-no), Hoku (ho-koo), Nia Noa (Nie-noah), Kalohe (Ka-lo-he), and Liho (Le-ho). We had many different ways of telling these unique creatures apart, especially by size and shape. For example, Lono is the largest dolphin and Liho is the smallest.
After we made sure the dolphins were happy, I joined the two interns, Sara and Melissa, to sort the fish that we feed the dolphins.
Each dolphin got a certain amount of herring and capelin - not too much and not too little - along with a vitamin fish to keep them healthy. When I was finished with that, Debra, a pro trainer, took me in the water to make sure there were no cuts or bruises on the dolphin's bodies.
I learned tons of different ways on how the trainers get the dolphins to work with them. It all starts off with establishing a relationship based on trust. Everything is voluntary, so the dolphins don't have perform if they don't want to. These dolphins are treated with love and respect!
Saying goodbye to my new BFF!
Another part of this program is having a trainer tell you about dolphin behavior, tools they use to make sure the dolphins are in good health, and which toys they have so the dolphins don't get bored. The trainers also told stories about working at Dolphin Quest and how to become a dolphin trainer.
Dolphin Quest has many more visitor programs during the day, so the trainers do their best to keep the dolphins entertained as well as the visitors. At the end of my session I even got to have Nia Noa show me a few tricks with the commands that the trainers taught me!
I'm so glad I had the opportunity to spend time with them. I left Hawaii with way more knowledge on dolphins and ocean life then I ever have before. By the time this life changing experience ended it was about 12:30 in the afternoon and I was pretty disappointed to leave all my new friends, but it was a great start to my day!
I can promise you this experience is something I will never forget. I hope you get the chance to bond with these dolphins on the same level I did!