Vacation 2011 – Day 7

Today was an early start, but I didn’t mind.  I didn’t mind because today I had the chance to check something off my ‘Life List’.

If you remember yesterday, I told you a little about Discovery Cove.  Discovery Cove is a all-inclusive tropical park that makes you feel like you are a rock star.  Everyone goes out of their way to help you and the experience is one that I will never forget.  We started out with a breakfast buffet put out by the park.  We then headed directly to getting changed, picking up swim vests, and get our snorkel masks.  Wearing our gear we brought the girls in an area that was set up with warmish water.  It was like a pool, but with uneven ground and rock-looking structures everywhere.  And it was huge!

The girls and I put on our masks and then started looking around under water.  I then let Andy bond with the girls and I headed out on my own.  I love water.  It calms me and centers me.  After going through some caves they had and through a river (all face down in the water) I headed back to Andy and the girls.  When I came toward them I noticed that Cassie was alligator walking.  Alligator walking is when you float the back half of your body and use your hands on the bottom of the “pool” to walk around.  This is the easiest way for Cassie to get around without scratching up her legs. (without her leg braces she can’t walk, but has to crawl instead)

So, Cassie is alligator walking around and I notice as my face is under the water that she is pretty much just lazily using a couple of her finger tips to move her self around.  I came up above water and spoke to Cassie.  I asked her to try to alligator walk, but not touch the ground instead swimming with her hands.  Then I watched as she swam.  And swam.

My baby can swim!  This is the first time she has really been able to swim without having a floatation device of some sort touching her.  The plan was…and still is…that she will go into swimming lessons this summer along with Kalli to learn to swim.  The Y has a program for adaptive swimming that is for those who don’t have all the abilities that everyone else has.  I want to do with the girls like my mom did for me.  They have to do lessons until they can swim well enough that they could save themselves if they were ever to fall into the water.  So…yeah, my little girlie can swim.  Who woulda thunk.

After snorkeling for a while we went and had a little lunch.  Also provided by Discovery Cove.  Once finished we headed over to the sting rays.  We went to get into the water and wanted to run directly out.  The water was cold and upon making our way into the water and finally, after putting it off for a long time, putting our face in the water we found that it was salty.  This is something that Cassie really didn’t like.  Kalli had no interest in the sting rays so she came in a little, but then hung out at the very shallow area.

In the end Andy and I touched sting rays.  Cassie came close, but was too afraid to get close enough.  Kalli had a ray come close to her but moved away and opted not to try to touch it.  Sting rays were kind of a bust.

Now for the crescendo of our day.

At 2:20, we walked into some cool water…warmer then then sting rays though.  And we were greeted by our instructor(?).  She explained a few things and then we headed a bit deeper in the water and met Dixie, our dolphin!  Dixie is a 35 year old female dolphin and is the dominant female of the group.  We learned a lot from Dixie and then met Briggsby, a 2 year old male dolphin.  He was so much smaller but adorable. He is still learning and doesn’t always want to stay working with people so we only did a little bit with him.  One things of which was giving him a kiss.

You have no idea how much I want to share some of the pictures.  Maybe I’ll attempt to tomorrow, but the internet from here isn’t good.  Oh, let’s just say it.  The internet here sucks!  I’m hoping to get some time tomorrow to upload pics, otherwise it’ll have to wait until I get back home.

So…kisses all around and then Dixie came back.  We were getting ready to swim with her when one of the instructors asked me if I was doing a deep swim with her or if I was going to do a shallow swim.  (Read: can you swim or do you want to stay in shallower water)  I told her that I was going to do deep water swim.  She then asked if I wanted to go first and show everyone how to do it.  Uh…yeah!  So I swam out a ways with her in the open-ish water and waited for Dixie to swim out to us.  I then put one hand on her dorsal fin and the other on her fin.  I pretty much was floating next to her and she did her thing.  She pulled me all the way back in to where everyone else was standing.  It was AWESOME!!  Everyone took turns and pictures were taken by a professional that was there.  Yes, I bought pictures and yes, I got a picture CD do that I can share them with you.  Again with the internet issues though.

During Cassie’s turn she laughed the entire time.  She was so happy and loved it.  I think that she could have done it over and over and over.  Cassie is so much like me.

Pictures that I will be sharing….each of us kissing dolphin, each of us riding dolphin, and photo of all of us together with dolphin.  Not sure if you can tell, but I had a blast and loved today.

To sum up.  Life List: Swim with dolphins   –   CHECK!

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