Fathers and daughters share a special bond

  • September 10, 2012 | Sarah Pillay

Sarah and Jula share a moment during training

I left home for work at about 6am this morning since I am on dolphin checklist duty. Leaving early is tough because my little girl is six months old and I miss her terribly when I’m at work. But I know she is in good hands, especially when daddy is there.

Being on checklist duty means I start at 7am by preparing everything for the day. First I checked on the dolphins and their water quality. I found them all resting as it was still very quiet at uShaka Sea World.

To prepare for the day I scattered their toys and show props among the backstage pools so they would be able to play after their first training session. Toys distract the dolphins while they are in training so they usually get their toys afterwards to avoid confusion. However, on occasion we do incorporate toys and teach them to push objects around or even jump over them for fun. Jumping over things is not something that dolphins do naturally, but they soon learn how to do this for the sheer enjoyment of it.

Next I prepared a multivitamin specially made for dolphins, which contains all the ingredients required to keep them healthy. A second vitamin we give them is B1, which is lost in their fish food when it is frozen.

The family group comprising Gambit, Frodo and Khethiwe slept in our show pool last night. As I was passing the channel that links the show pool to the backstage pools, I heard an unfamiliar gentle splashing sound, so I tip-toed over to see what the dolphins were doing.

Our oldest dolphin, Gambit, was lying on the surface of the water gently using his tongue to spit water on the surface to make little bubbles. His little daughter, Khethiwe, was floating underneath him watching the bubbles pop on the surface. Khethiwe loves to learn new things, observe and interact with everyone. So like good parents should, the dolphins share the responsibility of looking after her, entertaining her and teaching her new things.

While father and daughter shared a special moment, watched by mom Frodo, I couldn’t help but reflect on the parallel between father and daughter dolphin and my little girl at home with her own dad. Just as I had left my little angel in the very capable care of her father, so too had Frodo.

Giant bullfrog gets a finger snack

The giant bullfrog is one of my favourite amphibians –…

All in a day’s work for an uShaka Sea World diver

It’s incredible that a diver can burn up to 20…

Fathers and daughters share a special bond

I left home for work at about 6am this morning…

Kelp delivery earns seal of approval at uShaka Sea World

On Friday, October 12, 2012, a delivery of fresh kelp…

Giant bullfrog gets a finger snack

The giant bullfrog is one of my favourite amphibians –…

Penguin Promises promoted on air

On International Penguin Day last year I was listening to…

All in a day’s work for an uShaka Sea World diver

It’s incredible that a diver can burn up to 20…

Fathers and daughters share a special bond

I left home for work at about 6am this morning…