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Whales Up Close


Thanks to those of you who have reminded me that it’s been awhile since my last post. I’ve been juggling adventures with Sophie, who is now in Switzerland & two weeks in Crete with her European relatives until the end of August. Before she left, I took her on an activity-packed road trip, including, now that she is six, the “Whales Up Close” program at Mystic Aquarium with Kelly, a trainer, and a beluga whale named Keyla. First Kelly explained and with Keyla demonstrated training methods. We felt Keyla’s melon (beluga whale’s enlarged forehead where it produces a variety of vocalizations), gave her hand signals for different vocalizations, and patted her tongue (positive reinforcement, Kelly explained); from beginning to end it was an astonishing, amazing experience! The following week, on a blistering hot day, we spent 2 1/2 hours on the Research Vessel Oceanic, a 40-foot trawler that does marine research on Long Island Sound. Sophie threw in a seine net, helped haul in a large net, sort through what the dredge brought up, catalogue all the marine life in the net and throw it–flounder, whelk, snails, crabs–back into the Sound. The crew/educators were terrific & the experience fascinating.

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