In the Dolphin Encounter program, individuals can ask the dolphins to imitate them. The most picked imitation is a splash, but there are others that are just as fun. The dolphins are excellent dancers, great at spit fights, and pros at copying sounds. Since Santini often strives to be an A+ student, her trainers often encourage guests to try complicated behaviors when they ask her to imitate.
|Not a headstand, but Santini is great at all imitations!|
If you know Santini well, then it’s obvious you cannot stump her by asking for a combination of behaviors. Staff has asked her to sing, spin in a circle and bob up and down all at once. They’ve even taken it a step further by doing one behavior, stopping when she gets the hang of it, then switching to another. However, one lucky guest got to try his hand at a behavior that the dolphins often only do with their trainers.
A fan of Tina’s, the swimmer asked if the smart gal could copy a handstand. The trainer was assured by friends and family members that the participant could indeed do a handstand on the sometimes slippery, submerged platform. So, Santini’s trainer gave her the signal to imitate, and then waited to see what ensued. The swimmer took a deep breath, went under water and stuck their feet came out over the surface. After a quick glance, Tina took a breath herself and then popped up with her tail in midair.
As the whistle blew, both Tina and her imitate partner resurfaced to cheers and applause. It was one of the best imitates we’d ever seen! You could tell Tina was excited when she made her way back to her trainer on the dock. Not only does this guest have a great story, but the photographic evidence of this imitate is definitely worth a share!