It is magical experiencing the close interaction between dolphins and human beings. Even as a mere observer watching the swimmers feed and dive among the dolphins I felt a wave of emotion and a bond with nature.
Brimming with curiosity I headed down to Dolphin Fantaseas to meet Zeus, Ayla, Luna, Hippo, Al and Indy, two females and four males ranging between 10 and 25 years old.
I watched three swimmers experience the half-hour encounter which is held
twice daily at the moment - at 11:30am and 1:30pm. The jovial trainers welcome
the group and give a brief background on the aims and goals of the project
and some interesting tit bits about dolphins. The swimmers then learn how
to feed dolphins herring, mackerel, squid and sardines. And then ...
the moment everyone has long anticipated...
The swimmers clad in dive masks and life jackets wade into the 16-foot deep
sea water pool to mingle with the dolphins throughout the pool. There appears
to be communication going on as the dolphins and swimmers seem to share a mutual
curiosity and fascination. Trainers provide the guests with entertaining stories
on the life of the dolphin, interspersed by lively words of praise for the dolphins.
The small numbers made the encounter very intimate and personal...
three trainers, three guests and three dolphins.
The programs cater for persons of five years and up, with a maximum of 3 - 4 guests per program. Reservations can be made at 264-497-SWIM (7946) or 264-498-SWIM. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org - web page is under construction.
Dolphin Fantaseas: "Our commitment is to increase public education, maintain vital conservation and inspire individuals to obtain an appreciation for marine life. Keeping marine animals in public display facilities creates dual responsibilities natural dolphin habitat and 'real life' education for the public. We are devoted to providing the best possible social environment and physical care to our dolphin residents."
Article and photos by Janine EdwardsRevised: 2001/11/13
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