Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Cozumel Cruise day part 1

I swear that my child needs no sleep. Katie went to bed last night close to midnight…but still this morning, she’s playing on her Nintendo DS at 7:30 this morning. She’s asking me what time it is…she’s asking if she can go outside. She’s singing to herself. If you value your morning rest…it won’t happen in a room with Katie. On the other hand, Madalyn will sleep at any opportunity. She might have to be cajoled, but she’ll sleep. Yesterday she slept for two hours. She went to bed a about 11:30 last night…and this morning at 9:30, I am trying to pry her eyes awake. She is NOT a morning person…and she is a slow starter. Even during the week when she has to go to school…Michael wakes her up at 6:15 so that by 7:15 she’ll actually be awake and ready to eat some breakfast and get her day started. Even now I just suggested that she go out on the balcony and see the Mexican coast…and the other cruise ship that is trailing us…and her response: “I can see Mexico from my bed.”

We had our breakfast in the Unicorn café as usual…and the girls discovered their new favorite food: sunshine muffins. They were really good. We grabbed some bananas for the trip and went down to “A” deck to disembark and find our group on the pier. When we got to the end of the pier, we looked for a sign marking our tour…but they were all labeled for Princess cruises. I found a guy with a Carnival name tag and asked where we were supposed to go…and he pointed me to the blue signs at the end…and he said it’s the one without the Princess logo. Well…they had Princess logos! I found him again and he assured me that it was the correct spot…so we waited there for our guide to direct us forward. We crossed the street to this outdoor mall and she explained that we would be going to Chankanaab National Park for our swim in individual taxis. We managed to lather up the girls with their sunscreen as we waited for our cab. After our crash yesterday, I was a little nervous in riding in the cab with no seat belts…but there were none to be had.

There was a lot of traffic through the city…and being the last to board our taxi…I hoped our guide realized that we were on our way! When we arrived at the park we saw some people from our group…what a relief! There was a guy there with an iguana and parrots you could take pictures with…for a fee…we passed on the opportunity.

Our guide gathered us together to explain the procedure of the day. We would have about an hour of free time before our swim…and we could store our belongings in complimentary lockers…and then we would have a bit more free time before we needed to meet her back in front of the park so she could pay for our return taxi trip.

Our first stop was to put all our junk in the lockers…and then we walked over to the beach. Although beach is really not the right word. It was almost like a huge tidal pool with rock (or coral?) formations enclosing the pool. I am glad that I had the girls wear their shoes as the bottom was very rocky…but there were quite a few fish and some crabs to dodge.
The hour passed quickly…and we went back to put some things in the locker…and then met with our group where we were divided into four smaller groups and then led by our photographer to our area in the dolphin pool. We left our shoes on the deck and then went down into the pool. There was this metal shelf for us to stand on…(I love this picture -- it's a little blurry...but aren't those some cute toes?!) and the trainer was there with instructions on how to give hand signals to the dolphin. First on the agenda was the hold the dolphin. We held our hands out like a cradle, and the dolphin laid in front of us.

Next, we extended both arms, hand in hand to signal for a kiss.

The kids showed no hesitation at all in interacting with the dolphins. Next was a dolphin belly swim. You swim out…far out…keep both legs straight, feet pointed down – one hand across your chest, the other extended and then when the dolphin comes by, you have to grab one fin with the extended arm…and then the other fin with the arm across your chest. Madalyn was the first to volunteer – she just swam right on out there. No reluctance. No qualms about swimming or the depth or the dolphin. And she LOVED it! We all had our turns. And what an amazing experience!
We had another chance to swim out…this time holding on to a boogy board. We were supposed to hold the board with our legs straight behind us. The dolphin comes up behind you and pushes you forward…and when you bend your knees, it’s the signal to stop.

After the “tricks,” we had an opportunity for a free swim. I just cannot wait to see what kind of pictures the underwater cameras caught. I hope it’s just not big patches of gray! The entire time in the water was over an hour (even though the guide books say 30 minutes)…and it was just unbelievable. I am so glad that we went on this excursion.

(Most of these pictures were taken with underwater disposable cameras. We also have an Olympus point-and-shoot digital with an underwater housing. Michael was using that one. But the bad thing about digitals --unless you are using a digital SLR -- is shutter lag. See my picture with the dolphin jump? And then there is Michael's. Missed it completely!)

We all got out of the water…and they were videotaping the entire time…and we went in to watch our movie. The last thing I thought I would do is buy this dvd. But wow! I have no idea how they got it done so quickly…but it shows everyone in our group and all the “tricks,” plus…there is an introduction…and music. It is very well done. And then the pictures! Again…wow. When we get home, I’ll scan and post them…but they are great pictures (I actually bought 12 of them!). If you ever get a chance to go to Cozumel…this is a place not to be missed.

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Rhea said...

Do you think Katie isn't sleeping much because she's so excited or is this sort of the norm for her?

The dolphin swimming sounded awesome!! I am beyond jealous. My boys want to do this so bad!!

Great update on your excursion!

Skeller said...

wow - your swimming with dolphins adventure sounds amazing!! can't wait to see the photos.

Keys to the Magic Travel said...

Rhea-- Katie never needs sleep. She can go with very little. She is put to bed each night about 8:30...and she is usually still reading at 11 or even midnight...and then she wakes up between 6 and 7 every morning. I have a feeling it might all catch up with her when she hits puberty!

Susan--Oh...the pictures are just amazing...I can't wait to update this post with them!

Unknown said...

WOW!!! What an amazing excursion!!! My girls would LOVE that!!!

Kori said...

DUDE! That is awesome with the dolphins. Loved the pics.