Saved on Sifnos - a travel story out of the Aegean Sea that includes little harbours, sleeping villages, several tavernas, a ferry onward, a Greek cultures festival and a room with a view, travelogue, trip, travel, Greece, Cyclades, Sifnos, Kythnos, ferry, island-hopping



Jumping dolphins at AKR

December 22, 2000
Swimming with Flipper

Desperate to see some aquatic life during our stay here, I joined the morning snorkel boat. There we only three of us and we went about a mile down the coast from the resort, still staying inside the reef where the water was calm. We were blessed with the first sunshine in days and the water was warm. I took a disposable underwater camera with me and managed to get a couple of good shots, but in general the photos don't do it justice. I saw huge schools of blue fish, giant sea urchins, torpedo fish, and too many others to name here. My snorkeling companions were a women from Alaska who was there with her husband and son who dive (but she doesn't) and a man who dives, but likes to "snorkel every other day because you see different things". He made me feel better about not diving and pointed out lots of interesting fish.

For our last day, we had signed up to do the Dolphin Snorkel. AKR has a Marine Science Research Center that focuses on Dolphins. The have a dolphin pen where there are performances a la Sea World daily, and another enclosure on Bailey's Key where most of the dolphins live and begin their training. The resort offers two options to encounter the dolphins, one a 45 snorkel in the pen with al 8 dolphins who live there, and two, an hour long dive with 2 dolphins out in the open ocean if they choose to show up. We chose the snorkel to give us something to do on the last day there when we knew would not be diving before flying the following day.

The encounter began with a short boat ride out to Bailey's Key and then a 15 minute introduction to the dolphins. We were separated into groups of 3 or 4 and placed with a trainer and a dolphin. Our dolphin was a 2 year old female named Annie. We were shown some simple hand commands, explained a little dolphin physiology, and allowed to pet and kiss her. We were only allowed to take photos during this time, not during the swim time in order to minimize the risk of possibly scratching the dolphins with a camera. After the 15 minutes we were allowed to go into the deep part of the pool and swim around and the dolphins swam around us. Naturally curious, and unafraid of humans, the dolphins would swim right up to us and check us out. There was even one mother dolphin with a 6 week old baby swimming at her side. We were told not to reach for the baby, lest the mother get defensive and possibly attack. All in all, it was a good experience, although a bit contrived. It wasn't the awe inducing feeling I had been expecting, but it was fun.

Part 12:
Longest Travel Time Ever....

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