SWIMMING WITH DOLPHINS AND SEA LIONS IN DOLPHIN CAY, BAHAMAS
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Since I was a little kid, I wanted to swim with dolphins. One of my favorite mammals, and definitely my hands down winner of all aquatic mammals. All my other favorites, puppies horses and elephants, are all beloved land dwellers.  But after a visit to Sea World, I became hooked on the intelligent, smiley creatures, with their sonar communications and gentle faces, so responsive to training they certainly understood a large vocabulary and a mystical essence.  I felt a desire to interact and play with them and their pals, the sea, frolicking by their side, patting their smooth fur.
My first chance to swim with the ocean's most remarkable inhabitants, the playful and adorable dolphins, occurred when I visited Dolphin Cay at the Atlantis resort.
In this amazing 14 acres resort, filled with 7 million gallons of sparkling, crystalline seawater, I got to visit one of the largest and most advanced animal rescue and rehab facilities in the world.  My immediate impulse was to go deep sea diving and join the dolphins as their agile bodies swam around, all the while feeling safe. I had an encounter with a dolphin who picked me and not only stuck around but actually gave little gentle nudges to my face, and continued with me as I surfaced and removed my mask.
The shallow water swim is ideal for kids and the less adventurous. Almost everyone of any age or strength level can experience the waist deep shallow water interaction with these most delightful creatures. The bottle nosed dolphins, with their upturned lip-corners, have the sweetest expression which reminds me of my constantly smiling little dog, Matilda, back home. My new buddy, the dolphin I named Samantha, kept swimming around me and I got to hug her and feel her slippery body with my hands. She was tactile and made sounds, as if she was trying to talk with me.  Samantha followed me around until I left the water and I planted a kiss on her cute face. Some sea lions also became very friendly, playing with me and one another and I was more captivated than ever.
I saw a group of people engaging in what is called here the ultimate trainer day program where they get an in depth, up close and personal look and encounter with dolphins sea lions and even sharks.  Some people went snorkeling alongside exotic tropical fish, eels and sharks of such exquisite colors, while looking at the ruins of the city of Atlantis.
I found out that the first residents of dolphin cay were 16 dolphins rescued from marine life Ocearanium, Mississippi, during hurricane Katrina. Also, that if you always wondered how the trainers get these animals to do their amazingly amusing feats, how they feed and care for them, the Dolphin Cay offers an exclusive Trainer for a Day program. With it's over 50,000 marine animals representing over 250 species, this is the perfect place to snorkel with them and discover secrets of the underwater world.
Love is the most powerful way to create profoundly tangible transformation in everyone who crosses our path. Yet we must be mindful to endow the self with pure, unconditional love and acceptance, which will result in an infinite fountain of empathy and joy, readily available to give others.
img credit: carnival.com
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