I always did. David and I spent 10 years living on one of the barrier islands off the coast of Texas and to get to Port Aransas, you had to take a ferry and we would see dolphins frolicking and playing all the time.
On our Disney Cruise out of Galveston I was determined to book this excursion of swimming with the dolphins and I did. It was amazing, I participated in the dolphin swim on the Island of Grand Cayman. They have a fantastic facility, it is clean and well maintained with a wonderful shower and changing area not to mention the staff is very friendly.
We were bussed from our cruise ship to the dolphin complex and our driver gave us a little history of the Island and showed told us about some of the sites along the way. When we arrived for our orientation, we were given life vests, no wet suits needed and escorted to our first photo op with the resident sting ray. I have been on several sting ray swims before so for me this was nothing special walking up and touching a stingray and having your picture taken. However, for the 2 little girls in our group it was one of the coolest things they had ever done. Watching them oh and ah over this stingray petting was priceless.
Next, we were taken to our dolphin tank. You enter the water and stand about waist deep on a metal grate platform, and yes it is slimy and slippery but what the heck you are about to meet your dolphin for the day. Ours was Copernicus and he was beautiful. We went through various activates hand shakes and kisses and paying with a ball while on the platform and of course every time you interacted with the dolphin they took a picture that you could purchase after your adventure, you are not obligated to purchase the picture but they are nice to have to document your afternoon.
One thing to keep in mind while I tell you about my adventure is that your group consists of around 15 people so multiple activities will be going on at once. While the group is busy doing activities with the dolphin at the platform, 2 people on your group are swimming out to the middle of the dolphin enclosure to interact one on one with the dolphin. Here is a helpful hint: Eat your Wheaties before you go because it is tough swimming with the bulky life jacket, a boogie board and no fins to the middle of this huge pool or as I refer to it as the middle of nowhere.
My first encounter was the push portion of our (PUSH, PULL and SWIM excursion), I swim to the middle, put the boogie board in front and holding it on the sides, bring your feet together and wait for the nose to this 600 pound animal to tickle to tootsies. Copernicus came around behind me, found my right foot, tapped it to make sure he had a good spot, backed off the pressure a little and then came full force and we were off, sailing back to the platform him pushing and me grinning like maniac. If you have never experienced being pushed by a dolphin, I highly recommend it!
My next session in the middle of the dolphin tank was the pull part of our program where you are out in the middle by yourself your right arm extended and Copernicus comes up being you rolls over and you are to grab his right fin and then the left. and the he pulls you in the water for a belly ride. Now it sounds easy, looks easy but I and not very coordinated and missed the fin the first time. Not to worry our trainer said he will come back around and this time Copernicus and I made contact and rode a dolphins belly. Woot Woot!
Our final activity was the entire group interacting in the middle of dolphin pool with Copernicus, him swimming by and doing tricks in front of us.
Overall, I had the greatest day with Copernicus and still tell the stories of my adventures. If you ever have the opportunity and the desire it is a must. These dolphin adventures are offered in almost every port however a little side note if you book the Grand Cayman dolphin swim you also get free admission into the turtle farm right next door.