Florida Guide > Discovery Cove
Swimming with Dolphins at Discovery Cove
We weren’t sure what to expect of our ‘Dolphin Swim Experience’ but we arrived early at Discovery Cove in great excitement…. We checked in at reception, had our photographs taken for our passes and were given our allocated dolphin swim time, which was one of the first ones of the day.
We were taken to our cabana and were shown where to find the changing rooms and lockers and, very importantly, where to get our wetsuits, goggles, snorkels and sun cream. There were wetsuits of every size available – either a full suit (although with short legs and arms) or a zip up sleeveless jacket, the choice was ours. Several members of our party chose the full suits, either because they looked ‘cool’ or because they had ‘tummy trimming’ properties!! Then we were issued with a bag containing goggles, snorkels and sun cream. Two members of our group normally wear glasses, so off we went to one of the gift shops where prescriptions goggles of every strength were available to borrow.
After all that, it was time to go to the beach by the dolphin lagoon and be introduced to our trainers for the swim. A brief introduction later and we were off into the water to meet to our group’s bottlenose dolphin – Lester. As we waded into the water we were certainly glad of the wetsuits. Although it was August, the weather was overcast and the water, which is kept at the right temperature for the comfort of the dolphins, was pretty chilly!!
The session with the dolphin was very interesting and we were given plenty of information about how dolphins behave and how they are trained. It was explained to us how trainers use hand signals and positive reinforcement to teach the tricks to the dolphins. They showed us some of the tricks that he could do, and we were taught some of the hand signals so that we could get him to perform too. Then came the moment that everyone had been waiting for……… the swimming. In turn, we went a little bit away from our group and Lester was brought alongside us. We were shown how to hold on to his dorsal fin and one of his side fins and then we were pulled along through the water at great speed (well, it felt like it was very fast!!) back to the rest of the group.
There were several groups of people in the water with their trainers and dolphins at the same time as us. Each group had about six to eight people in it. As there were already eight of us in our party, we had a ready-made group, but smaller parties were put together to make the required group sizes.
Before we knew where we were, our session was over. The time is the water is about 30 minutes and it certainly flies by. After that we went back to our cabana to have a look at the photographs and video that had been taken by the official photographers who were in the water with us. Of course we all ordered some photos, because you definitely want a reminder of such a wonderful experience!
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