5th September 2018
A few months ago, I screamed with a passion, when I found out my Parents booked a once in a lifetime experience at Discovery Cove. I knew that this organisation is a way to swim with my favourite animals – dolphins! I admire the way they leap out of the water elegantly, do tricks enthusiastically & smile like there is nothing wrong with the world. Humans should educate themselves on how to be more like a dolphin.
When I entered the breathtaking Discovery Cove, Lauren & I had to patiently wait for my Mum & Dad to return; they took their own towels and to our surprise we were told towels are included. When they returned, we got through security & were given a luxurious pass. This made me feel like I was a special visitor. After security, we all made our way into the tropical world of Discovery Cove. The music was relaxing, the straw huts were relaxing, the staff were relaxed & the breezy water made us all feel relaxed too.
We headed for breakfast; as that, lunch & unlimited snacks/drinks were included in the ticket to this pretty place. When I walked over to the main restaurant, I saw a buggy with massive monster-truck wheels. It was like a customised vehicle from Mario Kart. I was then educated that these wheels were for easing the movement on the sand. For breakfast, I had sausages, fried toast (which I found out after my 1st bite that it had cinnamon covering the top layer), a huge juicy apple, croissants & muffins. I also had an unusual tasting fruit punch drink, which I drunk anyways. I was living the best life.
After breakfast we got ready for our destiny with the dolphins at 10.35. We had to squeeze into a labelled vest/wet suit. I chose the vest as it looked simpler to put on, then I had to pick up a snorkel. This was for going into the lazy pools & the reef. We also had to plaster ourselves in their animal friendly suncream. This was really thick and difficult to rub away. Most people were walking around like ghosts the whole day. When preparation was complete, we still had a little bit of time, so we tested out the snorkel in the pool. This was an alien to my mouth, so I began gagging as a security method. The goggles were tight around my eyes as well, but I eventually got used to it. At least, I get to keep the mouthpiece as a souvenir.
10.35 approached us, & we were all ready for meeting the dolphin buddies. My family, was in zone B and we were introduced to the trainers – Britney & Sarah. They then introduced us to the glorious Clipper. She was 21 years old and a mother of 4. She was born in Seaworld: Orlando and has been working with Discovery Cove for 18 years! She melted my heart.
We all tiptoed into the freezing water; which eventually got to a stable temperature. Clipper swam over to us, and I felt loved. She made sure everyone knew her feelings and you could tell she enjoyed taking time out of her day to meet the humans. Her smile made me burst with joy.
I was the 1st one chosen to meet Clipper 1 on 1. I got to stroke her smooth, silky, skin. Which felt different to what I was expecting. I was expecting her to feel rubbery & smell of fish. She must have been using breath mints as she had no smell. With each stroke, I felt closer & closer to this fascinating animal. I was told to put my hands on top of one another, then to my delight, Clipper carefully placed her long mouth into my hands. I give her a big kiss on the chin and she sprayed me with her blowhole. I had an infectious laugh throughout the whole experience.
I got to feed her fish, get photos with her & she was very photogenic! I got to clap her tail which had ridges and bends. She kept making this adorable clicking sound. Everyone in the pool had their own time with the dolphin and she was very affectionate but in particular to my Mum. Each time my Mum placed her hands onto the calm angel of the ocean, Clipper gave a huge gleam of happiness.
I was very curious about the creature, asking questions whenever seen fit. I asked about her eyesight – she can see just as good as humans but her eyes work better under the sea. She can also see with sound! I asked about her memory – apparently, she gets excited when previous trainers come to visit. Each answer shown me how intelligent and interesting these beautiful cetaceans are.
I was also given the opportunity to swim by Clippers side. We were allowed the choice of deep water or shallow. Both experiences were the same apart from level depth. Just to make sure drowning doesn’t ruin my plans I went for shallow. I got told were to place my hands; right hand on top fin, left on the side fin. I never even had to swim. She elegantly moved me around the pool, synchronised and controlled with each movement, she bobbed up & down in the water. I loved it.
After all of this we were told to end the experience of a lifetime off we were going to have a splashing contest with her. We were all told to only do one splash. We got her 1st and then her 1st splash missed. We were told to give her a 2nd chance so we did. She moved backwards (which is the only movement of a dolphin that is a bit messy) she then waved her tail cautioning us with her deadly weapon. We splashed her again & then she pounded her tail into the water soaking us. She done it again! The dolphin cheated! I was caught unawares I got the salty water into my mouth.
After all of this fun, we had to part ways with Clipper. We were shown to give her a gesture of hands on our heart, to show we are leaving. She gave us all a huge wave as we had to leave. I couldn’t look back. In this hour, I made a new friend and I wasn’t wanting to let go this soon. This was the most exciting, energetic, enlightening experience I have ever had. I was so pleased I got to meet Clipper and I will never forget this opportunity I was grateful to have. Definitely do this, if given the chance!!
After leaving Clipper, we headed to the conservation cabana to watch & learn about 2 different animals. I was hoping for the sloth, but unfortunately this slow species never made an appearance. I got to meet the Armadillo known as Boomer. He was incredibly cute!
I also got to meet the 2 parrots – Rio & Abby. Rio was part of a strong family tree, and had an alpha look due to this. His beak was massive! This meeting was cut short, as they got bored due to the downpour beginning behind us.
After this we went for some lunch, were I had: Chicken tenders, Chicken in a mango sauce with rice, fries & a sweet strawberry cheesecake. This went down nicely.
After lunch, we all went for a swim in the water. This pool was made to look really realistic to what a rocky pool looks like. The water was a darker tone of blue and it gave off a peaceful atmosphere. The swim was enjoyable. I got to massage myself underneath the water fall, I got to explore in a cave and see some interesting items under the water with my snorkel.
After this swim, we all went to the reef part of the water. In this pool, there was stingrays & fish swimming around you. I was expecting all of this but I never knew how close these sea creatures were going to be. I had stingrays stroking my leg as they moved. My Mum & Lauren were a bit scared of thus fact, so it was just my Dad and I that went around. I floated with my head under the water, watching the natures of the fish as they swam around. There were some gigantic rays! I was having to tread carefully so I didn’t stand on them. I was surprised that I wasn’t sinking in the deep depths of this pool. We made our way to a glass wall which on the other side lay huge sharks! I was thankful they were on the other side.
I decided I wanted to go back to the surface as the water was ice cold. When we made it back, I felt upset that my Mum was upset because her fears were stopping her from entering the pool. She doesn’t like fish that much, me & my Dad tried to talk her into it but it was difficult. Eventually, she accomplished it! I was so proud of her as I thought she was going to regret this later, but she did it! Well done Mum!
To end our day, we swam over to see the otters & visited the aviary. My Mum couldn’t conquer this fear as a bird sensed her nerves and landed on her head. She ran off. My Dad was targeted by the bomb of a bird which was disgusting. The place was closing, so we never had long beside the birds but they were cool.
I was sad to see the end of this day, as Discovery Cove brought lots of fun experiences and helped me befriend a dolphin. I will never forget this day, and I would love to do it all again soon.
Thank you for reading this blog, I hope you enjoyed & are now contemplating swimming with dolphins yourself! The next blog will be taking place at Busch Gardens I hope to see you all there! *Bye in dolphin*