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.
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.
Longest Travel Time Ever....