Tag Archive | Winter

In the Florida Keys and a Winter and Hope Update

Here's a kiss to the Keys saying "This is the life".

Here’s a kiss to the Keys saying “This is the life”.

Hey there everyone,

This is Jenna writing finally, after a while. I have been very busy lately due to online college work and my current internship at a Theater of the Sea in Islamorada, FL which has slowed me down a lot recently to the point where I no longer had anytime to blog about my experiences. So, now that my finals for the semester are out of the way, I can finally get to blog about how things have been going down here in the Florida Keys.

Theater of the Sea

I personally love my internship at Theater of the Sea. So, far, I have had the best five weeks of my life getting my foot in the animal training field through some hands-on experience with the dolphins, sea lions, and rays at the park. So far, I have done some water-work training sessions with the dolphins and a sea lion named Bella as well as a couple of feeding sessions here and there with the sting rays at stingray beach. In addition, I have been assisting a lot with getting music ready for the shows and picking out volunteers to meet the animals up-close in person. Some of these people have even asked me to picked them to meet the animals too like this one grandmother from France who came to the Keys with her young grandson because he wanted to see a dolphin. When she came up to me, I was so touched by her story how it was her grandson’s dream to meet a real dolphin that I had to pick him to meet one and so, after I fulfilled his wish, I picked him for a second time to toss rings to Wilbur the sea lion and believe me, he wowed the crowed by throwing the ring from a far distance. It felt so good granting some kid his life-long wish because this is the kind of stuff that most people may never get the chance to do and also, it was Christmas and I was taught for a long time that Christmas is not really about the presents you get under the Christmas tree, it’s more about caring for those who really want to be cared for.

Winter had been paired with Hope (Photo by Bay News 9)

Winter had been paired with Hope (Photo by Bay News 9)

Winter has Finally been Paired with Hope

With a lot of delight, I am very happy to day that Tampa Bay’s Bay News 9 has confirmed that Winter the dolphin has finally been paired with Hope almost one year after Clearwater Marine Aquarium’s youngest bottlenose dolphin was first moved to the Winter Zone from the Dolphin Zone where she had been residing since the winter of 2011. The CMA staff is reporting that Winter and Hope have been getting along very well and the introduction has been a huge success. Congrats to Winter and Hope and a very successful introduction.

Theater of the Sea Family Portrait

Theater of the Sea Family Portrait

Back to Life in the Keys….

Since my internship is a paid one, I have decided that I will be using all my current paychecks to pay to have my SCUBA lessons be done down here in Key Largo since I found out that it’s very expensive to get certified up north while it’s cheaper down here. Plus, I have always wanted to go scuba diving in Florida’s coral reefs  and see the ship wrecks that are down there. This would mean I would have stay in the Keys long after my internship ends and that would also mean finding a job down here too so that I would be able to help pay for the condo my mother and I are renting at the Moon Bay condominiums in Key Largo.  I am so glad that I’m spending the holidays in paradise because I don’t have to worry too much about the cold weather. Any way, I hope you all are having a great Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Merry Christmas everyone,


Merry Christmas from the Florida Keys.

Merry Christmas from the Florida Keys.



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 http://seewinter.com/get-involved/support-the-mission/ride-the-wave-capital-campaign 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.



Update on Hope (A.K.A., Winter’s Sister)

Hope in her new home at (Drums rolling).................The Winter Zone.

I am very happy to report that on January 4th (the day I visited Clearwater Marine Aquarium since the end of my first internship), Hope, a 14-month old bottlenose dolphin calf has been moved from the Dolphin Deck, to the Winter Zone. This move is just a major milestone for this dolphin because the plan is to introduce her to both Winter and Panama in the near future. However, Hope will likely be first paired with Panama who would serve as an adoptive mother to her like she has to Winter. If this goes well, then they will try to pair her with Winter who would serve as her adoptive sister (Winter tried to interact with Hope behind the gate walls just moments before her training session which left Winter swimming back to one of main gates). Just to keep you more updated, Hope has been weaned from her bottle and continues to learn new behaviors on a daily basis.


Merry Christmas Everyone

Even Winter says Merry Christmas too (photo of Winter was taken by a CMA photographer and the card was made on pizap.com)

Merry Christmas Everyone and may you all have a Happy New Year too. I hope you all got the chance to see Winter and her friends at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium this year and may you all get that same chance next year too.

The Winter Dolphin Chronicles (WDC) is Now on Facebook

You can now like "The Winter Dolphin Chronicles on facebook.

Here is some good news to all of you WDC fans out there. The Winter Dolphin Chronicles is now of facebook. The facebook page has links to blog archives, links on various marine life and CMA-related articles, photos from CMA, and of course, updates on the site itself. So come visit WDC at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Winter-Dolphin-Chronicles-A-Blog-By-An-Aquarium-Intern/198874656839412 and hope to see you there.


CMA Dolphin Story: Winter

Winter just relaxing in the "Winter Zone". She is an inspiration to millions of people worldwide.


Winter is an almost 6-year old sub-adult female bottlenose dolphin who was born around September 2005 off the coast of Florida. One day on December 9th, 2005, Winter found herself entangled in a blue crab trap in Mosquito Lagoon nearCape Canaveral, FL while playing with a buoy on the surface of the water. She would remain trapped for the next 36 hours. Then, the next day, Winter was saved by the rescue staff from the Harbor-Branch Oceanographic Institute and the Hubbs-SeaWorld Institute the next day on December 10th, that same year. The rescuers arrived after receiving a distress call from a local fishermen who found Winter entangled in the fishing gear. When she was freed, Winter was in serious condition that she was not expected to survive. She was then sent to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium in Clearwater, FL four hours later. There, her rehabilitation began. With blood cut off as a result of being in the trap for so long, Winter lost both her entire tail and two vertebrae a few days later. Most dolphins who get entangled in fishing traps often die either during the process or shortly after getting trapped. Winter on the other hand, despite the prediction that she would not survive her ordeal, her condition later began to improve. But, this was only the beginning of an amazing story of survival from the dangers that many dolphins face as a result of human activity.

How Winter Got Her Prosthetic Tail…..

In the Wild, dolphins having no tail can lead to either serious injury or even death. Winter on the other hand, was now in human care but still had to learn how to swim in a very different pattern that is similar to that of fish and snakes. She had now adapted to this swim pattern as well as eating on her own for the first few days of her arrival, she was hand fed by the vets and volunteers who rescued her. They used a tube to feed her. In 2006, CMA announced plans to create a bionic tail for Winter. So for several months, people everywhere collected money for the project. In August 2007, Winter was fitted in her first artificial tail that was created by Hanger Prosthetics and Orthotics, Inc. Winter would only become the second captive dolphin to ever receive an artificial tail. Over the course of a number of months, Winter had to learn how to use the correct body position to be fitted for the stretchy plastic sleeve. This is the one that is mainly used for human prosthetics. Her trainers have also created one that is more form-fitted version of this sleeve. The sleeve will probably have to be adjusted as Winter gets older. So far, Winter has had 16 tails over the course of her lifetime. The tail fluke acts as a dolphin’s power house. The dolphin uses it to swim at the fastest of speeds, and to sometimes defend themselves predators such as sharks and killer whales.





I shake hands with Winter Dolphin at Clearwater Marine Aquarium during my day off from work.

Today, Winter continues to thrive as a “bionic” but tailless dolphin at one of  Clearwater Marine Aquarium’s three dolphin exhibits. Over the years since her rescue and arrival at CMA in 2005, She has inspired people from around the world to know, love, and care about the plight of dolphins in the wild. She has even inspired those who suffer from disabilities to overcome their limits. In fact, Winter’s amazing story has appeared on NBC, The Bonnie Hunt Show, CNN, BBC, and a number of newspapers worldwide. She has even become the subject of a 2009 direct-to-DVD documentary called Winter, the Dolphin That Could. Winter currently weights in at around 230 pounds and has completely healed from her injury from the crab trap. Winter is very calm, and studious. However, she can sometimes be very playful and interactive towards guests when she has her moments. She has even been adopted by an old female dolphin name Panama shortly after being paired with her in the main tank. Winter does both public training sessions and guests interactions like all the other CMA dolphins. As of 2006, Winter has been declared as unreleasable by NOAA Fisheries due to serve injuries from the entanglement at Mosquito Lagoon. You can currently see Winter and Panama at the “Winter Zone” exhibit at Clearwater Marine Aquarium.


Floating Bed Wars: Starring Winter and Panama

Oh, Winter and her beloved floating bed

Panama relaxing on the bed Winter tries to steal from her all the time.

Winter always tries to steal the floating bed from Panama whenever it’s in the water and Panama’s using it. As a result, the two dolphins will “fight” over the bed although they might be actually playing around with each other. In most cases, Winter ends up winning the floating bed; but, on some occasions, Panama will give in to get back her beloved bed and will continue to rest on it. It is such the funniest moment at Clearwater Marine Aquarium.

In your opinion, who did you think won the battle? Was it Winter or Panama?