When I first considered swimming with the dolphins at Dolphins Plus in Key Largo I was nearly put off by the prices of the different programmes. Ranging from $140 to $195 (depending on the programme) sounded like a lot to spend in one place in one day. Friends, who had first suggested and experienced the creatures, insisted I do it and not count the cost.
I called and made my reservation. It was also the first stop on my Florida vacation. The one and a half hour drive from Miami airport was really beautiful and set the mood.
I had chosen to do the Structured Dolphin Swim programme as my research said that it involved hands-on, one-on-one contact and lots of interaction. That I wanted!
The programme began with a fairly long (almost an hour) but really interesting and informative instruction session about dolphins (the bottlenose in particular); how to behave around them and essentially the various interactions to expect during the swim programme. They also told us to expect that the entire session would last for a total of at least two hours.
Straight off I saw that everyone at Dolphin Plus were really passionate about what they were doing and just as importantly they loved and cared for the dolphins. They were really knowledgeable. They explained things and shared their knowledge with us.
After the briefing session we were separated into smaller groups. Each one of us had a turn at swimming alongside them, touching, getting a tow and even a kiss. The feeling when being with these simply irresistible and gorgeous creatures was almost unbearable. They are so gentle, childlike, playful and affectionate. My favourites were Baby Bit and Bella. Yessir, they have names.
There are two session timings for all the programmes at Dolphin Plus. They also have Sea Lion Encounter programmes. I was more than emotionally satiated by my dolphin swim and could not think of diluting the feelings.
I am so glad I invested in this, dare I say it, life-altering experience. I’m going back.