There was one item and one item only that Sidney desperately wanted to do on our honeymoon: swim with the dolphins.
You have to give your brand new wife the one thing she wants the most, right? So it should come as no surprise that on our trip to Cancun we did indeed swim with the dolphins. This is how it played out…
We needed to travel to an island to participate in the swim. Our hotel actually covered the transportation costs of the round trip. On Wednesday morning we hopped on a double decker boat. Once aboard, we were served all the liquor, beer, and/or soft drinks we wanted. It was a 45 minute venture in the Caribbean Sea waters from Cancun to Isla Mujeres. When we got to the island we walked around and explored a little. Since our dolphin swim wasn’t until a couple hours we were able to take advantage of the bars and pools that were available.
When it came time to live out Sidney’s dream, we checked in at the appropriate area. The name of the company organizing the swims was Dolphin Discovery. They gave us life jackets and briefed us on what we would be doing. After the pep talk, they took us to the dock area. We walked down the long plank and then were instructed to get in the water. We were paired with a guide and she took us down to an area that was about 100 yards from where we got in.
Pretty soon our guide had summoned two dolphins that appeared right in front of us. She gave a little introduction and then had the dolphins swim down the line where we could reach out and touch them. Sid and I were in a group with about 12 other people. We all stood shoulder-to-shoulder during most of the experience. Because we were in this arrangement, it made it easy for the dolphins to interact with us while also having plenty of space.
After the introduction, the experience shifted into a pattern. The guide would ask someone in the group to step out. The person who stepped out would then have a dolphin come directly to them. At this point, the guide would instruct the person on certain poses to do that the dolphin would play along with (kissing it, holding it, etc). While this occurred, a photographer from up above would snap photos. After a person stepped out and interacted with the dolphins, the guide would then take over and talk about the animals. After she talked for a minute or two, she would ask someone else to step out. She would then talk again. It went step out-talk-step out-talk-step out-talk for the majority of our session.
Once everyone had their photo opportunities with the dolphins, including Sidney and I, the guide had the dolphins do some jumps. She then had the dolphins swim around underwater in a big circle. For me this was the coolest part because you could barely keep up with the trail they were taking because they were so fast.
After the jumping and swimming, the guide asked those who were comfortable to swim out about 30 yards from the line (which Sidney and I did). She then summoned the dolphins to approach us in this much more open area. They splashed us and swam close to us as it was pretty cool. We then returned to the line for the grand finale. The guide had the dolphins do coordinated jumps with each other while making sure to splash us as much as possible. It was a nice way to end the experience and Sidney was pleased.
We splurged on pictures and then got set for the second experience. This time we would be swimming with manatees. I didn’t even really know what a manatee was until Sidney coincidentally explained them to me a couple weeks beforehand (they are giant sea cows).
We got set up and jumped into some murky water. We swam across to the other side of the pool area from where we entered. Once again we were shoulder-to-shoulder with the other people (about 5-6) in our group. Once we were all settled, the manatees started to surface.
You are going to think this is crazy but Sidney said she liked the manatees more than the dolphins. Yes, the same girl who had it on her bucket list to swim with Flipper remarked to me that she liked the sea cows better. She just thought they were gentle giants and overlooked. I couldn’t share the same opinion. We fed them lettuce and got to pet them but their slimy skin and the algae growing on it turned me off a bit.
When we left the island, we both agreed it had been a good day. Going in we didn’t know how everything would shake out. But not only did the dolphins materialize but we also got to swim with an animal we didn’t even know lived at the Dolphin Discover facility. I could see us doing this again one day when we have kids. Don’t Blink.