My out of the ordinary “first” that happened to me this week was that a fish bit me. Like drew blood and left a bruise kind of bit me. I had been feeling rather good about myself because one of the other students has been bitten multiple times, with my record of none that must have meant that I was doing something right, right? Nope. Pride comes before a “bite,” I guess. Apparently, my fingers just didn’t look as tasty until Friday and then my pinky finger bravely took the brunt of the startling incident. Why share that random story? Because unfortunately, it seems that it will be a common occurrence while working in the natural lagoons. Not necessarily something people at other facilities have to worry about, so don’t go around worrying about all trainers’ fingers now. It usually happens when we are feeding the dolphins and the resident aggressive fish that come and go have figured out that the dolphins are getting fed tasty fish and they don’t have to work as hard. While feeding the dolphins you really do have to make sure to place the fish in the dolphin’s mouth because if the fish think they have a chance they will even bite the dolphins. I have already seen multiple trainers be bitten while feeding and when they bring their hand up it begins to appear bloody and they have to reassure the guests that it was just the fish. The usual fishy culprits are smaller snapper fish which have canine looking teeth. There is also a damsel fish that has appeared to have laid some eggs near one of the docks and will nibble your legs when you get in the water, they do not usually draw blood. A hazard you never thought you would have!
On another note, one of the interns was able to get some pictures of us while we were working on a training swim. So, I officially have a picture of me with a dolphin! Atocha enjoys practicing splashing people.