Saturday, November 15, 2008

Happy Bottlenose Dolphins of Hawaii
Great Birthday Deal of Espionage Part I

My wife and I were asked to infiltrate and survey one of their signature restaurants at the world-famous XXXXXX Hotel, which might have been ripping off hotel guests, particularly non-English speaking Japanese tourists. If that's true, we agreed to help the internal investigation by pretending a dumb Japanese couple from Japan who didn't speak English at all.

I'm not gonna tell you all about it in detail because it's secret, but I tell you that we had a great deal and the day was actually my birthday as my lovely wife arranged that way, so we could stay in a nice resort for free. Smart woman ;-)

In exchange of being spies, all of our expense were paid including three very expensive resort meals & snacks, internet connections, a nice room, valet parking, plus petty cash for tipping, etc. Whole thing might have cost them little under $1,000. Wow! That's pretty expensive for one night stay for two, right? What a deal!

After we arrived at the hotel, we had a secret briefing with the hotel manager at a Chinese restaurant, and were given some cash to pay for it. The mission was a piece of cake and dim-sum, beer and services were all good so far!

We had some time to kill until the next fatty meal, so we decided to go swimming a bit to investigate their pools as well as to consume extra beer calories. On the way to the pool, we swung by the famous the dolphin pen, where about 10 common bottlenose dolphins, Tursiops truncatus, were trained spending the day interacting with humans.

The common bottlenose dolphin is the most well-known species of the dolphin family, Delphinidae. Those dolphins are very common among marine parks and aquariums around the world because they are known to do very well in captivity.

common bottlenose dolphin, Tursiops truncatus, jumping with Hula hoop, Hawaii, USA, captive

Unlike scarred up wild common bottlenose dolphins regularly seen around Hawaii, these captive dolphins looked strikingly different. They were so clean and beautiful as they have been meticulously cared in the enclosure by the stuff and some were even born there.

The wild Hawaiian common dolphins are much larger in size, and the color of their bodies are much darker, almost blackish, contrary to the light gray color of those captive dolphins. In addition, wild ones typically have many battle scars and rake marks.

common bottlenose dolphin, Tursiops truncatus, performing, Hawaii, USA, captive

The enclosure was somewhat small but it was much better than most of enclosures I've seen else where. The water was clean and crystal clear all the time with a natural lagoon beach setting.

Dolphins seemed happy there, too. That's very important to me as I believe that all mammals have and develop "feelings" just like us humans. Unlike other creatures like fish and invertebrates, mammals feel joy, happiness, sadness or pain.

As I have a privilege to deal with wild marine mammals such as dolphins & whales almost daily, I learned to sense their mood because I could only take pictures of them when they let me. In the wild, sometimes they are friendly and come closer to play with me, and other times they don't want to see me at all. I just have to meet them at the right time at the right place. Well.. that's not easy!

common bottlenose dolphin, Tursiops truncatus, treading water spyhop, Hawaii, USA, captive

Other than mammals such as sharks, fish and inverts are, to me, easier to take pictures of. Unlike mammals, their behaviors are rational and very much predictable based on their natural mechanism, genes, and not based on their feelings and emotions.

Anyway I can only hope those dolphins in captivities are well taken care of for the rest of their lives as these captive dolphins could never survive in the wild, and contribute to their honorable projects in a very positive way to impact our environment.

To be continued to: Happy Green Sea Turtle of Hawaii - Great Birthday Deal of Espionage Part II.

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