Today I fulfilled a life long dream and got to swim with dolphins...it was such an incredible experience I am not sure where to begin! When the opportunity first came up I wasn´t sure whether or not we should do it at all because I really don´t agree with keeping animals in captivity but at the same time I have wanted to do it for as long as I can remember. So we decided to go for it, it´s a once in a lifetime thing for me and I will give money to a dolphin related charity afterwards!
Well, I suppose I had better start at the beginning...
The 1st stage was the boat from Cancun to Isla Mujeres where they had laid on drinks and pastries for breakfast and gave us really really cheesy, American style welcome with lots of "are you haveing an amazing time?!", "we are going to have so much fun together", etc etc. We arrived at the dolphin centre two hours before our swim so Ken and Debbie, an American couple we met on the boat over, invited us to join them on a tour of the island in a golf buggy they had hired. Since we had never been on a golf cart on a two lane highway, we thought it was something that we should try! As if tourists aren´t annoying enough, we are now taking over the roads in small, comical vehicles that were never inteded to leave the confines of a slow recreational sport! It was a bit of fun, though there was a moment I thought I would be run over by another member of our golf buggying team when I forgot to hold on as Ken went over a speep bump and nearly fell of the back!
After our wee drive around the island, we went for our dolphin swim orientation where we were shown what positions to take to make the dolphins do certain things and we got more of the "are you ready?! Are you excited!?, come on I can´t hear you, are you excited!?"...which was beginning to make us laugh.
We then headed down to the water to meet our trainer and the two dolphins. Just to put it into perspective how cold and windy it was and how rough the sea was, I was about to carry out a life long ambition and I didn´t want to get in the water!! Though once we were in, in wasn´t too cold and excitement took over so we just forgot about the fact that we had to cling onto the railing as we were thrown around by huge waves! We had paid for the best experience that you could do at the centre, which apart from being able to do extra things with the dolphins, meant that we had a much smaller group than the others (6 people as opposed to 15 or 20 in the other groups). First we got a kiss from the dolphins, and gave them a nice big smooch in return, then we asked them to give us a hand/fin shake and then a hug. We also got them so speak dolphin spanish, blow out their blow holes, spin, jump, splash us and wave to us. The best parts (other than the kiss of course) were the dorsal pull and the nose push. The dorsal pull is when the two dolphins swim up behind you and you hold onto their dorsal fins so that they pull you along. The nose push is when they swim with you on their noses (one dolphin for each foot) and push you through the air, that was a really really amazing feeling! Though your first thought with the nose push (while you are waiting in a "superman pose" for them to swim up behind you) is how on earth can you balance on a dolphins nose?! But all of a sudden you feel two wee noses pushing against your feet and before you know it you are flying through the air! They do all the work, it was so easy!
All in all it was the best thing I have ever done...other than getting married but that´s just splitting hairs!!
After the dolphin swim we gorged on the free buffet that had been laid on, complete with cake and cocktails! Then, as part of our package, we got to swim with the manitees as well. They are really cute in an ugly sort of way...and a biy frisky too, I got a big of a surprise when I felt it grap onto my leg with its fins, that was a weird feeling I can tell you! We also got to pet him and feed him...(lettuce...yeah I know, it was a weird concept for us too!).
To finish our day, we had a cocktail (though it was more like an alcoholic slush puppy), watching the sun go down over the sea. It was a hell of a day and it is an experience that will be really hard to beat!