Friday, June 22, 2012

SETI Contact Conference 2012 Talk part 2 Dolphins in the Wild

Dolphins in the Wild
While continuing research into dolphin communication, I take people out by boat to the spinner dolphins off the Kona coast. We typically encounter a pod of 200 dolphins, or a subset of the 700-800 resident spinner dolphins.
I’ve developed a protocol for these encounters, calling the basic three steps Dolphin Secrets.
1 The first dolphin secret, Terry taught me over 30 years ago. Terry would wait a couple feet away, while I was draped over the tank wall with my hands in the water.
 As she waited, I would breathe and relax, and relax even more, before she would glide into my arms. Terry rewarded me for relaxing deeply by allowing me to embrace her.
The first Dolphin Secret is to be in a position to wait for the dolphins to come to you. Let them approach if they want. Relax and wait.
2  Terry also rewarded me for grace. After we danced gracefully over the tank wall, fluid and innovative, Terry would run around the tank performing splashless bows, or corkscrew underwater. She would stand beside me with her nose pointed skyward and her eyes closed.
The second Dolphin Secret is to Go in Grace – be predictable and smooth, respectful and calm. Observe and respond to what happens during the encounter.
3 The third secret is to establish and maintain eye contact. When the dolphins gaze at you and the moment becomes timeless, go with it. Be present. Be open to gamesplaying.  If it seems appropriate, become more active, either swimming with them or following their lead. They have invited you to play, even if this time lasts mere seconds. Eye to eye gaze, stay present, focus, be attentive and responsive. Play, but play with grace and respect, not intrusion. Watch for cues. Feel your response to their mood and behavior, and then feel the dolphins’ response to your response. BE with them.
Relax and breathe. Go in Grace. Be present in eye to eye contact.
Communication begins here. We are sending signals to the dolphins. Signals indicating harmlessness, non-intrusion, trust, respect, curiosity, and a willingness to play if invited.  Dolphins have an extensive limbic system which immerses them in awareness of others, including us.  We are only learning to watch for signals from the dolphins indicating their trust, curiosity, acceptance of our presence, and willingness to engage us in games. 
In my videos I am looking at their use of whistles and other vocalizations while in close proximity to us, perhaps directed towards us. Also their use of vocalizations while engaged with each other in highly active play. I have some of these videos posted on and
If you would like to analyze any of my videos, please let me know.
Roberta Goodman
Kailua Kona


  1. Relax and Breathe.Go in grace.Be present in eye to eye contact.
    I have been swimming with Roberta and the dolphins on the Kona Coast.
    If you practice these things you will truely have an amazing experience with the dolphins.
    THANK YOU...Roberta

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  3. Looks to be an amazing experience you had. I have also heard a lot about kealakekua bay snorkeling. Any comments on that?
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