Depending on your age, you either grew up with Flipper or Dolphin Tale or Free Willy. Me, I’m a Flipper fan through and through. Maybe it was the crush I had on Sandy (the cute teenager in the show) but regardless, I never missed an episode and secretly longed for a job as dolphin trainer. If you’ve read my blog before you know I grew up in small town Wisconsin and dolphin training wasn’t exactly a sought-after career so the likelihood of that ever happening was…well let’s face it….zero!
But it’s hard to kill those childhood dreams and then one day….the dawn of swim with the dolphins started showing up in places like Mexico and Jamaica.
Oooh boy I could not wait to do it! I got in the water, stood on the platform as instructed and then got my first feel of those lovely gray mammals. I shook its fin, I waved to it. I was in heaven! I’m sure my smile was ten feet wide. All that of course was the buildup to the ultimate dolphin experiences…..so as instructed, I got in the water, stretched out my arms when my (yes my) two dolphins passed by I grabbed their dorsal fins and got towed through the water. Hint, stop smiling here or you get a big drink of dolphin pool water.
Now that was fantastic…but wait…it gets better. Back out into the water and floating on my tummy, toes pointed down and the next thing you know my dolphins are pushing me right out of the water. I had my arms raised in victory! Nothing could have been better.
At least that is what I thought at the time (circa 1980) until this past winter. You see my husband and I had the privilege of taking our grand kids on a cruise in January and the two older ones (15 & 11) got a swim with the dolphin experience as a Christmas gift. This time I got to watch and yes, it was even better than my own dolphin encounter. I was able to witness them learning to love the dolphins as much as I do. Two super wide smiles, two kids who could not stop talking about their experience. I guess you could say it was twice as good as my own experience. So, take my advice, splurge on the Royal swim for your kids…and the kid in you! It is a memory you’ll cherish forever.