Dolphin Tale Inspired Poem by South African Poet S.C. Duvenhage Pypers

During it’s theatrical run, “Dolphin Tale” was a Number 1 Box Office Hit in the United States, Canada, and Brazil. (Photo of Winter and Sawyer (Nathan Gamble) is a screenshot from “Dolphin Tale).

Since the movie Dolphin Tale was first released last fall, there has been a lot of feedback from people everywhere who said that not only were they in love with the movie and it’s storyline, but also, they were in love with Winter herself. Last night, I was checking The Winter Dolphin Chronicles facebook page when I was a posting from a South African poet named S.C. Duvenhage Pypers who wrote this beautiful poem about the story of Winter the dolphin and the people who rescued her in the movie. Her poem is titled A Dolphin Named Winter and it’s inspired by Dolphin Tale and I am more than happy to share this poem with all of you.

A Dolphin Named Winter……By S.C. Duvenhage Pypers

Stranded you were on the beach the ocean

 too far to reach caught in tight strings of rope

your body unable to cope Alone, scared and in pain

but hope you kept remain a little boy came helping you

and connected with you so true

Sick you were and sore and to eat you

didnt want to anymore but once again

the boy came through and with heart and

soul your bond grew You lost your tail and could not swim

but that did not keep you from gaining a win you taught yorself

to swim and move you were happy, friendly and with new groove

But then again the sad news came you will die if swimming remain

your heart was strong and the boy faught long A prosthetic tail you

would gain there will be sunshine after this at first it did not go

so well but given up was not about to sell The boy knew what

was wrong and got it fixed before too long now you’ve got a

brand new tail and into hearts of many you sail Winter, you

are our friend you are a dolphin angel to the end you

 are my inspiration and i now have a new destination.

Winter i’m swimming with youin my dreams… 😉

written by S.C.Duvenhage Pypers now after watching Dolphin Tale

Thank you very much Ms.Pypers for writing this beautiful poem about Winter. It’s just beautiful.

Hope you all have a great morning everyone,



More CMA Updates

The following below is a video containing a video clip of Winter, photo montage from my visit to CMA along with some updates on Clearwater Marine Aquarium around 5:30 into the video.

For those who may not want to watch the video because it’s long, well, I will give you the news on this post right now.

Janis and I are experiencing a "hurricane" at Winter's Dolphin Tale Adventure which is located in downtown Clearwater.

  • Clearwater Marine Aquarium has a new facility that is located in downtown Clearwater. The museum, appropriately  named “Winter’s Dolphin Tale Adventure” is the only movie museum in the entire world that’s dedicated to displaying props, recreated scenes and costumes from the movie “Dolphin Tale”. These props includes the real-life movie touch tank where you can meet and touch the real life resident critters of the pool and Winter’s real life prosthetic tails from the six years she has been at CMA. I have personally got to visit this museum and believe me, the staff and volunteers did a really great job putting this amazing museum together. You can get there by taking a trolley that back and forth from CMA to the museum.  It’s a really nice place to visit for anyone who loves “Dolphin Tale”, Winter the Dolphin, or CMA in general.

You can now see Bailey the Green sea turtle at the Dolphin Deck exhibit (the pool that was used to film certain scenes with Winter during the filming of "Dolphin Tale"). Photo by CMA.

  • Bailey, a paralyzed green sea turtle has been moved to the Dolphin Deck exhibit to fill the exhibition void that was left behind by bottlenose dolphin Hope when she was moved to the Winter Zone exhibit earlier this month. There, he will have enough room to swim around and receive therapeutic sessions from his care takers after living in the Turtle Cove exhibit for many years. He loves to hang around at the windows to check both himself and the public out. So, the next time you visit Clearwater Marine Aquarium, be sure you check Bailey out at his new home in the Dolphin Deck exhibit.

You are never too young to save sea life (photo by CMA and the Davies Family).

  • In lieu of  of birthday presents, five year old Lucian Davies had birthday and New Year’s Day party guests donate specific items that would be useful to care for sick, injured, and orphaned dolphins, sea turtles and otters who come to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium for rehabilitation purposes. The youngest has managed to collect 1,683 items including towels, zip-lock bags, dish-washing liquids, and sponges. They were delivered to Danielle O’Neil, director of the marine turtles programs at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium last week. Great job Lucian and keep up the great work! :-).

A bird's eye view of what Winter the dolphin's new home would look like once it's complete (photo by CMA).

  • Clearwater Marine Aquarium has so far raised $3 million for their expansion project that would include a new home for Winter and her dolphin family. However, while construction has already started on the new facility, they still need to raise nine more million dollars in order to reach their $12 million goal. To learn more about how you can donate to the project, visit and your donations will help both the animals at the aquarium and the project.

I hope you all have a great evening everyone and take care.



“Dolphin Tale” Puts The Incredible Works of Marine Life Facilities In the Spotlight

Sully, an orphaned pilot whale from Curacao who was rescued by the Dolphin Academy in 2009 and was deemed "non-releasable" after it was determined he could not survive on his own. He was adopted into the SeaWorld family at it's sister park in San Diego, California in 2010 where he currently resides. He's a testimony to SeaWorld's commitment to helping rescued and orphaned animals get a second chance at life. Photo by SeaWorld.

Since last week’s release of Winter’s movie Dolphin Tale, marine life facilities around the world, including Clearwater marine Aquarium and SeaWorld, have been given the long overdue attention and critical praises they deserve. This is because of their extraordinary work to use their wildlife expertise to rescue, rehabilitate and release animals in need.  Not so many people know this but in fact, SeaWorld’s rescue team was the first to rescue Dolphin Tale star Winter in Mosquito Lagoon Florida nearly six years ago from crab trap entanglement.  However, Winter and Sully are not the only animals who owe their lives to incredible workings of zoological facilities.  In fact, they respond to thousands of animal rescues each year ranging from injured pelicans, to  orphaned marine mammals, to cold-stunned sea turtles. Here is are two examples of some amazing animal rescues performed by zoo professionals:

Saturn, endangered Kemp's Ridley sea turtle rescued off Cape Cod Bay in 2010. Photo By the New England Aquarium rescue team

Rescued in Dennis, Massachusetts in December 2010, Saturn the sea turtle was cold-stunned and was suffering from severe pneumonia. As a result, she was admitted to the New England Aquarium’s sea turtle hospital in Quincy, MA. There, she was treated for recurring pneumonia and her case led to multiple biopsies and CAT-scans over a seven-month period. Her last CAT-scan in June revealed that the pneumonia had cleared up. She was released off Cape Cod on August 13th, 2011.

Mystic Aquarium's latest rescue, a blind harp seal pup.

In August 2009, a juvenile harp seal pup was sent to Mystic Aquarium for rehabilitation after it was determined that he was less alert and responsive. There, he was treated for stomach problems that were related to him eating rocks; he was also treated for both skin and eye-related problems. However, further exams on his eyes concluded that he had suffer from a birth defect that caused him to be blind and his blindness was not treatable. As a result, the pup was deemed “non-releasable” by the US National Marine Fisheries Service. He was moved to the Detroit Zoo in December of that year where he currently resides.

These, like many other animal cases are very unique and it allows the rescue staff to learn about them, and even help save their species from extinction.  No rescue, no case is ever the same. Anytime and anywhere a rescue team will be there anywhere both in good times, and in bad times.

Update on CMA (A Report from my friends back in Clearwater)

If you plan to visit Clearwater Marine Aquarium, this little trailer is where you will have to get your tickets from. (photo by a Clearwater Marine Aquarium staff)

Here is a new update on CMA and how you will be expecting changes that will be going on there pretty soon. Yes, the aquarium is getting perpared. Here is what they have to say:

Keep your eyes open for a lot of upcoming changes…things are about to get crazy! Yet this is an extremely exciting time for us and we so honored to be able to spread the word and educate the world on our mission of rescuing, rehabbing and releasing marine life.

We have been making plans to expand our square footage to improve the guest experience. Also, with the West Side construction starting soon we needed to add portable restrooms as our old restrooms are being bulldozed very soonAdding tents on the North side of the building covered both issues. We are now operational with our new ticket trailers. These will relieve the bottleneck indoors where ticket sales and retail sales had shared the same area. Once our guest purchases a ticket they will walk into the fenced area where a Guest Service Specialist will greet the guest and verify they have purchased a ticket.Once inside the fence the guests are now free to roam the entire guest side of the building and come and go from the building to the fenced area to utilize the restrooms and the activities that the Hospitality team will provide under the tents.

We have designated new handicapped parking spaces beside the ticket trailers to ensure a positive guest experience for our disabled guests. We have reclassified the restroom by surgery as our ADA restroom as the restrooms outside are not designed for ADA.”

——Clearwater Marine Aquarium’s blog at

Keep in mind that this is not the only current change that is going on right now, the aquarium has also reported that they completed renovation on the sea turtle ICU which re-opened last Monday. This area now has air conditioning, which will keep the turtles cool on the hottest of days, a new drop ceiling with improved lighting, a new glass door, which will allow guests to view the area and two cameras which will serve as “live feeds” for guests to watch the turtles in quarantine pools without having to go into the area. Meanwhile, CMA has recently been only opening up to the public at 1:00 PM due to media interest in the upcoming movie “Dolphin Tale”.

These are all the latest updates on Clearwater Marine Aquarium. Hope you get the chance to visit. Oh, Safe trip and great experience to everyone attending the 2011 IMATA (International Marine Animal Trainer’s Association) conference in Miami, FL this week. I hope you guys have a great experience.


Funny Video by the Marine Mammal Team at CMA: Winter Watches “Dolphin Tale” Trailer!!

On July 5th, members of the marine mammal team allowed Winter to watch a movie trailer for her upcoming film Dolphin Tale. I just watched it myself and believe me, I think it’s the funniest thing ever to see a dolphin watch herself on a lab-top. What do you guys all think?

Oh, in case you wanted to see the trailer yourself like Winter, here it is below:

Let’s Talk More About “Dolphin Tale”

Winter, who plays herself in the movie "Dolphin Tale" gets cared for by a boy named Sawyer (Nathan Gamble) and Dr. Clay Hasket (Harry Connick, Jr.)


Dolphin Tale is a movie that has been inspired by the true story of Winter the dolphin. However, there was an artistic license on the story, including a scene where Sawyer finds Winter stranded on a beach. In reality, she was found by a fishermen in Florida’s Atlantic Coast. The story also focuses on the fictional story of how Sawyer befriended Winter and rally a group to raise money to both save her, and Clearwater Marine Aquarium. Movie magic helped turned CMA into a rundown facility with fake rust painted around the facility. Many props from the movie that were donated to the aquarium after filming ended. Many of the props have stickers indicating that they were props that were used in the movie.

During filming, which began in September 2010, CMA was closed for three months, but the aquarium remained a working animal hospital during the public closing. About 15 minutes after the movie wrapped in December, Clearwater Marine Aquarium received a call of a stranded baby dolphin named Hope, who was found in the exact location where Winter was found, five years and one day to Winter’s rescue. Hope, currently resides in the Dolphin Deck exhibit, the $300,000 pool was used in the movie and was later donated to the aquarium.

More Movie Facts:

  • Filmed from September to December 2010
  • 30 cast members, 250 crew members, and 800 extras
  • Will be released on September 23rd, 2011 nation-wide.
  • Clearwater Marine Aquarium CEO David Yates has admitted to starting a movement to get Winter nominated for a “best actress” Oscar nomination.
  • The majority of  the movie was filmed at CMA and other various locations throughout Pinellas County, FL.
  • The movie ran over three days over it’s projected date which is unheard of in Hollywood.

"Dolphin Tale" star Winter during a training session at Clearwater Marine Aquarium

 Facts on the Extras in the movie

  • Extras had to pretend to talk, lip sinc, exaggerate movements, and had to react without hearing the actors.
  • Twenty takes were sometimes required, timing mistakes of movement and backup.
  • Herding extras is like controlling ants. About several hours was spent waiting around for the set to be readied.
  • Extras were paid $75 and were only used to fill in the background holes, and some never even left their holding area to see the sets.
The movie stars Harry Connick Jr., Morgan Freeman, Ashley Judd, Kris Kristopherson and of course Winter as herself. It was produced by Alcon Entertainment with a $40 million budget and distributed by Warner Brothers. The film is also directed by child actor-turned-film director Charles Martin Smith.

To Teach A Dolphin How To Act-Getting Winter Ready for “Dolphin Tale”

It took a village to teach a dolphin named Winter how to act

As a lot of you may know, Winter, a bottlenose dolphin who resides at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium in Clearwater, FL will be playing herself in the upcoming film Dolphin Tale which will be released in theaters on September 23rd, 2011. The trainers at CMA had trained all the dolphins, including Winter, in the same matter that SeaWorld trainers would train their animals for behaviors for upcoming animal shows.  These behaviors were all established through positive reinforcement and desensitization.

Positive reinforcement-Trainers ask the animal through hand signals, imitation and whistle (bridge) to perform a behavior, and reward them when they perform it. Nothing was forced during this process.

To prepare Winter for her interactions with movie equipment, props, scenes, and actors, the trainers used desensitization-the process of slowly exposing Winter to the items and situations so that she would then, be able to become familiar and comfortable with them. In fact, all bright lights, groups of people, and large cameras would always remain close by in order to help get used to such interactions when filming the movie. For example:

  • The staff has fashioned a fake “camera” made of gas cans and raised and lowered it on a fake boom (long stick that usually has a microphone attached) over her pool.
  • Volunteers took shifts holding reflective boards to familiarize her to the bright lights.
  • A large “blue screen”, similar to what weather people use, was placed in the pool.
The trick to desensitization is to go slowly with the training, pairing, every encounter with positive reinforcement/reward, and to make it fun! This way, the animal feels comfortable with the new experience and can enjoy these exciting interactions like a game.
Some of the new behaviors taught to Winter specifically for her movie role include:
  • Tossing bottles in the air
  • Responding to signals given by the actors

Winter, resting on her favorite movie prop, the floating bed.