Before the experiments of living continuously with dolphins, Margaret Howe spent 8 months working with and observing the dolphins Peter, Pam, and Sissy.
The perspective of the preliminary period leading up to these experiments in Margaret Howe's life is best given by a sample from her notes:
Date is Thursday August 13, 1964. Time is 1104 hours. Visibility is good. Pam is now swimming full length of pond.... Pam and Peter rest by the inflow. Sissy is circling, sonaring by the hydrophore. Peter circles slowly. Now Sissy chases Peter. He bites along her. He does three half-leaps, they swirl, Sissy opens mouth wide and slides her teeth down his back. Peter turns over, he is now underneath her. Peter bites her throat. Lots of creaking door sonaring going on. Sissy swims to Pam, Peter follows her, biting at her tail. They hassle. Peter upside down again. They come mouth to mouth.
1110 hours. Peter bites hard on Sissy's eye. He puts his head under her genital region and bumps upward hard, squealing starts now. Whoooooo, whoooooo, by Sissy. She circles away from Peter, now back to him. He is after her tail in tight circles, lots of loud whoooooo, whoooooo. Sissy makes it and lets out a steady stream of bubbles from her blowhole as she does so. In center of pool the two line up face to face, not touching. Noses about four feet apart. Peter suddenly lurches forward after Sissy with mouth open. Sissy goes to Pam ani they cruise together. Peter cuts in, haggles with Sissy, making whah, whah complaints. (Time for writing.) Pam's right eye closed now cruises with Sissy. Peter is alone, swimming around outside pool with his belly facing in towards the wall. Peter flips upside down and goes into chasing Pam. Pam leaps clear of water three times, turning to face opposite her way as she does. Pam slows down, Peter is immediately less intense in this chase, Pam noses along Peter's genital area, Sissy joins them and the three circle together.
1115 hours. Peter upside dawn nibbles Sissy. Sissy also turns upside down and continues whooo wboooo while upside dowm I can see the stream of bubbles . . . the three cruise silently, aimlessly, Peter ahead by a length, Sissy outside and even with Pam who is inside. They come to a pause and rest at the surface (time gap for writing).
1120 hours. Peter and Pam both have their right eye closed. Sissy circles pool slowly. Fiddles with piece of grass. Pam undulates in place, Peter starts to circle her excitedly, always facing her with belly turned towards her. Sissy hovers nearby—Peter moves in and sonars Pam's genital region. Pam moves slowly in circle, Peter follows. Peter leads Pam sonars fish under grate, Sissy is resting near Pam. There is no intensity here, all three seem to be resting and doing not really much of anything. Nosing each other, sonaring genitals, fish hovering, grass playing all seem to be just passing the time of day. Sissy is alone. Now she half leaps whapping the water with her side, again and again, fonp, fonp, she smashes down. This must feel sensational. No one pays any attention to her for a while. She continues. Suddenly Peter from the opposite end of the pool faces her and I can hear him sonaring like mad. He slowly advances towards her, speed increases and he ends up flying at her with mouth open. They hassle. Pam comes over for a look. Peter squeals, races, trying to press genital regions to Pam, no erection, they have a big hassle, lots of bubbles, Sissy starts leaping and Peter follows suit. Pam dashes around, Peter noses into Sissy's neck, Sissy's flukes flick across Peter's genital, suddenly it is quiet. Rest period. Just as suddenly Sissy is whining and chasing after Peter's tail (gap for writing notes). Peter and Sissy swirl, Peter seems to be directing, pushing her around, nipping her here and there, and it seems that quite often their genital areas come in contact. This is very vigorous. Pam mildly observes an attempt.
1135 hours. Pam stays close to Sissy. Peter and Sissy seem angry at each other, are bopping and nipping and whah, whah, scolding each other. Sissy passes by Peter and wham. She slams him with her whole tail. I can feel the swell in the water as it hits the bubble. Pam is out of it but stays close to Sissy.
1145 hours. Suddenly the fight is over, and the three rest quietly together by the inflow. I am confused by the way a vigorous Dooking and deathly sounding squabble can end with a big "nothing". Just suddenly turned off, then resting side by side, seemingly no interest in continuing the squabble???