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New whale show at Seaworld – ‘One Ocean.’
One of my favourite shows at Seaworld was the ‘Believe’ show with Shamu, the killer whale. This show highlighted both the intelligence of these orcas, and their amazing ability to learn from, and interact with, their trainers. I have always sat spellbound as these wonderful creatures performed to the delight of the audience in the arena.
Sadly, in February 2010, one of the trainers, Dawn Brancheau, was drowned by a killer whale during training as Seaworld, Orlando. Following that incident, trainers were no longer allowed to interact in the water with the whales during the show, for safety reasons. It used to be an amazing experience to see trainers emerging from under the water, propelled on the nose of a killer whale, but sadly, that has not been part of the show for a year. This manoeuvre, called a ‘rocket hop’ was iconic.
As a result, Seaworld has devised a totally new show, where trainers will work exclusively from the stage, instead of in the water. The new show, to be called ‘One Ocean, ’ will, however, be quite spectacular with multiple Orcas performing together, and manoeuvring amid giant fountains.
‘One Ocean’ will have a conservation theme, with images and messages which will, in the words of the park’s curator, Julie Scardina, ‘revolve around the ocean, the environment, what people can do to make a difference. ’
The new show is said to emphasize the individual personalities of the killer whales, and trainers will have some chosen guests interact with them through the glass surrounding the show pool. They hope to be able to show how the older whales teach the younger whales, and to demonstrate that when they interact they have fun.
This new show will require substantial reconstruction, involving new colour schemes. Fountains are to be installed, and the oversized video screens are to be replaced. It is likely that the changes will cost in the region of $10 million. New safety features have also been developed since the tragic death of Dawn Brancheau.
This new killer whale show is only part of a nearly $200 million pound reconstruction scheme by the Seaworld parks in 2011, as they add 10 new attractions at their parks.
I, for one, look forward to seeing this new show, as I always feel a sense of awe and wonder when I watch these amazing creatures perform. Whilst I am sad that the trainers can no longer be as close to the whales as they were before the tragedy, I am sure that whatever show they have devised in its place will be totally riveting.
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