This was totally the fulfillment of a dream. But next time I’m fulfilling a dream I hope I’m not freezing. In both New Zealand and Mexico, I ended up getting rained on nearly the entire two weeks. You wouldn’t think it’d matter in the water but it gets cold!
We arranged it at Xel Ha and it is so worth it to get the full experience. However, expect it to be ridiculously expensive. I mean, ridiculously. Go into it expecting to pay $300. Yeah, the actual dolphin experience is about $100 but they take pictures and a DVD and of course you’re going to want that. Asking price? $200. Two. Hundred. US. Dollars. D: I just about had a heart attack when I heard that. Very, very luckily, my mom decided to splurge. We got a package of 16 pictures and the DVD which ended up being roughly $180. Which is still like holycrap!wtf especially after I heard so much how things were way cheaper in Mexico. Wow. So uh, please, please make it worth it by enjoying these pictures.
First they showed us a video. It said this facility had one of the highest rates of survival for dolphins born in captivity. Dolphins do not like to be touched on their blowholes or their private areas but if they roll over you can pet their belly ^^
All the dolphins had Mayan names. Kinam was the one that spent the most time with us and her name means respect. We learned about some veterinary procedures like checking stomach contents by sticking a tube down the dolphins throat and then sucking on the other end. With your mouth. Ew.
Kinam swam around us and we did several commands–usually not having any idea what the commands meant. Like slapping the water means ‘please splash me!’ Saying “ahh” got Kinam to make those squeaky dolphin noises. Very cool.
We were in a group of six and there were a bunch of other groups scattered around the dolphin pool interacting with other dolphins. We each got individual time with Kinam but it was pretty much just photo ops. Still, it was neat.
You can’t help but laugh when they kiss you. It’s just such an odd feeling to be bumped but that mouth, especially since they’re just about silent when they move. They look kinda creepy in profile though =O
It’s amazing to be so close to such a huge bizarrely shaped creature compared to say, a domesticated dog. I kept thinking of the stories I’ve heard of dolphin rescues, how they come up real close when they’re playing at Tybee’s beach, and how like dogs they can sense/smell/etc things like sickness and pregnancy.
I’ve touched dolphins and whales before, way back at Sea World so I knew they aren’t slimy. The texture is more like rubber.
They told us to get in a line and say “Ay Caramba” ^_~
The Foot Push is the real selling point of the more expensive experience. You lay in the water and two dolphins come up behind you and push you through–no matter how much you weigh! It’s worth it to watch the video just for this.
The DVD they gave us is nice… if it wasn’t so freaking expensive. I really don’t think we got the money’s worth there. It’s not even a recording of the full time we were there, it’s just 10 minutes. All the posing (and mishaps during it) aren’t on there, just the Foot Pushes, circle, a few commands and lots and lots of time petting Kinam. I liked petting her, I did, but it’s not that exciting to watch and honestly it was SO COLD that I started to get tired of it even when we were there. I wanted to be doing something more active than waiting for her to come close enough to touch. Again, would have helped if it wasn’t freeeeeeeeeziiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnngg…..