It is Tuesday, January 11th and we wake up to yet another glorious sunny day. I love the view we have from our room here on the 6th floor of the Doubletree.....over the tops of the palm trees, we can see over to Universal Studios.
This morning we are booked in at Discovery Cove for what will be our second time there. I am looking forward to today....as I am to every day on this holiday! We decide against breakfast as we know we will have a substantial meal at DC later. On the way out, we bid "good morning" to George, the doorman and the Florida sun hits our half tanned mugs. Have to stop myself from skipping to our cherry red Dodge Neon which we also want to take home with us.
We cruise up International Drive, feeling right at home.....we are both very happy and go into our usual discussion about 'when we live here....'
Ten minutes later and we are pulling through the gates of DC ....into paradise for the day. After the bag search, we have our photos taken for the identity tags......always a bad photo this one I always look like I am peering into the back of a spoon We are also given a complimentary card for a free drink and dessert later in the day as we are celebrating our anniversary. We are to be swimming with LaToyah in the Seahorse Cabana at 1.30pm.
Out we go back into the sunshine where we are given free coffee/juice and are asked to pose for a photo which we can pick up as we leave....for free. For free is good A quick guided tour of the shop/changing area and we head off to pick up our wetsuits. DH opts for a jacket but, I like to keep my wobbly bits hidden so I opt for the wetsuit....but, I am brave and have the shorter leg version Why does it take so long to get into these suits? OK, I am as ready as I will ever be Within 30 seconds, I don't care what I look like. I am here to enjoy the day, not to be self conscious and shy. (You should have seen the state of us last year when we were here...full wetsuits, goggles, snorkels, and flippers.....yep, we wore the flippers it was sooooo funny. We had to ditch the flippers though because we couldn't get about in them for laughing at ourselves)
We go and buy a pair of sand-shoes each because last year I ripped my toenail off on the rocks ...didn't even realise this until I went to get dressed again We charge them to our visa card via the tag around our necks and we are set for the day.
First stop is the Coral Reef....coldest water in the cove It takes a couple of minutes before our full bodies are covered in water - partly because of the cold, partly because we are getting used to using the snorkel again...and laughing at each other. That's better....we're a couple of old pro's by now Some of these fish are amazing......amazing that they don't get swatted by arms and legs It is beautiful here. Shoals of technicolour fish swim past my face, followed by a ray with a span of about 6 foot. DH does his 'swim to the bottom thing' and beckons me to follow. Now, I am a bit cautious here as I don't believe the snorkel won't let the water in and somehow drown me but, I am a brave lass and down I go. We see lots of barracudas down there but no sharks...what's more, I am still alive.
We float/swim around the Tropical River.....much better water temperature here I love this time with DH. We rarely see anyone else in the water and we have our own tropical island for a few hours. We swim under the waterfall and find ourselves in the aviary. There are some weird and wonderful birds in here so we step out of the water onto land for a while so we can feed them. Of course there is someone there ready with a camera
Back into the water from the opposite side and we are once again in the river. I just let myself float on my tummy, with my face in the water for a while...not a care in the world, just relaxing. Then I realise I am passing a lifeguard who is sat on a rock at the side of the river....I begin to imagine what my backside looks like floating above the water and I adjust myself accordingly
We then come across a photographer in the middle of the river (I kid you not) He asks if we want to have our photos taken underwater. Let me think about this...he wants us to swim underwater and pose for him OK, I'm up for that! Many attempts and laughter later, we are once again on our way.
What time is it.........oh no....... WHAT TIME IS IT!!!! Discovery Cove needs to put up an odd clock. I know it doesn't fit in with the scenery but, we have to take off our watches so how do we know when we are due for our dolphin swim The lifeguards don't have watches on so, we scurry over to the sunbathing area and ask a lady there the time. We have 5 minutes before our rendezvous at the Seahorse Cabana.
After a 10 minute talk about the dolphins and the do's and don'ts of when we are in the water with them, it is time to go and meet our dolphin.
We are in a group of seven....unbelievably, a couple from our group ask if we are Geordie's after hearing us talk. Turns out, they used to live right behind us and their son is our local fireman.
We are introduced to LaToyah who waves her flipper at us and all seven of us adults are standing there in freezing cold water, waving at a dolphin. We all stand in a line with our arms out stretched and LaToyah swims past as we all stroke her to get used to feeling her. We then get to take it in turns to wade out a little way into the water and have a one to one interaction with her. She does things like shakes your hand, makes a rude noise when you put a finger on her head, DH gave her a cuddle and she pretended to faint. We then all take it in turn to wade out and give her a kiss......my favourite photo of the whole holiday Then, couple by couple, we swim out with a trainer so that LaToyah can pull us back to the shore one at a time. You gently hold onto her flipper and away you go...so cool. Photos are taken of this too. DH and I then had our photo taken with her in our arms after which we were allowed to stroke her belly. Back to group activity for a while and then while you are still in the water, about 4 dolphins put on a bit of a show for you...jumping out of the water etc. It is hard to say goodbye to LaToyah :(
Next, we head off for our free meal. Once again, I am impressed with the standards of the food here..and the choice. I had a salad bowl with a huge amount of hot beef strips in onion gravy which was on type of bread. I followed this with carrot cake - best ever carrot cake I have ever tasted. (I remember last year, we had strawberries and DH got up from our table to get a spoon. A beautiful bird came and landed on the table...took a strawberry from his bowl and flew off. DH couldn't believe that I had let this happen...but the bird was so cute)
Fit to burst - I look even sexier now in this wetsuit, we head off to the Ray Lagoon. There are a few kiddies in here all excited about feeding the rays....these rays are smaller than the ones you swim with in the Coral Reef.
It seems like most people have had their dolphin swim and gone We really do have the place to ourselves and it is great. We decide against going back into the cold water so we just drift around the river once again, exploring the caved area and have another look in the aviary.
It is about 4.30pm when we decide to go have a shower and get dressed. On the way out, we look around the shop and then go to pick up our photos/video from our dolphin encounter. We check that the video we are buying does actually have us on it and not another group.
On the way back through the reception, I give a little sigh last year, there was a guy with a sloth that you could stroke and chat to. (calm down, you only stroke the sloth ) He wasn't about this time.....we'll just have to visit again so we see him.
We jump back into the car and I sit there with the voucher in my hands for the free drinks