OK, maybe not "flipper" himself..but you know..cousins ;)
So, I have yet to post about one of the adventures we had on our trip to Mexico a couple months back. First something you may have never known about me is, I have always had a desire to be a marine biologist. Specifically working with whales and dolphins, you know all the good stuff. Even ask my parents, when I was as young as 6 or 7 years old if you asked me what I wanted to do I would have said Marine Biologist. I choose not to take that route though, crazy, but I didn't.
Anyway, it's been my dream to swim with dolphins. I've already gotten the chance to be in a boat along side them in the wild and even swim 50 yards away from them in the wild. But to be actually in the water interacting has just been at the top of my bucket list.
We go to Hawaii usually every year or so and on the big island they do have a dolphin experience, but it usually costs a car payment and you have to be on the list for up to 5 months. So when we heard that not that far from where we were we could go and swim with them any day we liked, for 1/4 of what we would pay in Hawaii.
I will just say it was probably one of the most touching experiences of my life, not only to connect with such a large and super intelligent animal but to know that this was one of the facilities that was actually helping the animals and not taking them from the wild. (If you have seen The Cove, you know what I'm talking about)
(Yes, I know odd that I'm wearing hat and sun glasses..but don't worry I wasn't the only one and they said it was OK. ;) )
I'll be honest. When I first got in I was a little nervous! These girls were huge and you just never know what to really expect, ya know? Not to mention when they signaled for the two girls to swim around us so we could get to know them and pet them, the smallest of the two swam quickly towards me and kind of smacked her nose really hard into my shoulder...not by accident, I mean really how could it have been..and then swam in front of me and on to someone else. It made me nervous cause it was hard, and hurt a little. Needless to say I think it was a term of endearment because she seemed to like me as she would generally come back around to me and sit there nuzzled into longer than the others.
(She was the biggest of the two, about 15 feet I think?)
We ended up getting to have about 5 minutes of one on one time with them. Getting to dance with them, hug, them and even get wet salty kisses from them.
For about an hour they talked to us about how they train them, keep them occupied, random facts about the animals and so on.
When it was getting time for everyone to be over we all got the chance to ride them 2 different ways! All I can say it was sooo exciting. To just feel the strength and grace of how they moved so swiftly through the water and would carry us with ease. Just amazing, really! When it was just you and the two of them you could catch them every so often turning their heads to look back at you, as if to make sure you're doing alright.
Call me weird or silly, but to feel like you connected with a creature like that in some small way just to meet for a day was just something we'll never forget. An opportunity that I really do hope to go back one day and experience again.