Saturday, October 11, 2014
2014 Vacation: Snorkeling with Dolphins
The last time Daniel and I had an opportunity to take a dolphin tour, I was pregnant with Jack. This experience was a little different in that we were able to get in the water with the dolphins.
I don't know what it is, but dolphins in the wild mesmerize me. Every morning, I would drink my coffee on the front porch of our beach house in hopes of a glimpse of the pod that swam by several times a day. It made me down right giddy to catch a glimpse of their fins and I even saw one jump out of the water.
Daniel and I debated for several days whether or not we wanted to do a dolphin tour. I really wanted to, but it was $39/person and you needed a minimum of 4 people (we had 3) and we weren't sure if Jack would enjoy it. In the end, we agreed that we would enjoy it, and at the very least Jack would enjoy the boat ride.
Daniel contacted Mexico Beach Dolphin Tours to see if we could get out on the water. We had to wait for them to call us back – they were going to try to find another person to go with us. In the end, we met our captain and boat at the Panama City Marina and we were the only people on the tour!
It was pretty cool to go out on the water, just us. Jack called our captain "The Pirate" for the duration of the trip. Thankfully The Pirate took it well. The Pirate was a firefighter that moonlighted as a tour guide when he was off duty. He also had 4 kids of his own and was very sweet to Jack.
The Pirate took us out past St. Andrew's Bay State Park and then to Shell Island. Since it was off season, it took a little while to find any dolphins, but we enjoyed our ride out on the open water.
When we finally found a dolphin, I was surprised that the Pirate encouraged us to get in the water with it. I guess I missed that part of the sales pitch. So Daniel and I took turns donning snorkeling masks and slipping into the water for a chance to see the dolphins up close.
At one point, one of the dolphins swam right under Daniel – almost within reach!
On one of my turns in the water, all of a sudden a second one appeared out of nowhere! It was an amazing surprise to see two up close like that.
Jack got brave and got in the water with us a couple of times, but I think it made him nervous and I'm not really sure that he saw any dolphins.
After the dolphins went their way, the Pirate took us to snorkel a small shipwreck off the coast of St. Andrew's Bay State Park.
We had a wonderful experience and it was definitely worth the $39/person to be able to get in the water with the dolphins. This is an outing you shouldn't pass up if you have the time and are in the Panama City area.
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