Swimming with the dolphins is on my bucket list.

I have always loved these beautiful creatures. Native cultures tell us they are spiritually advanced, science tells us they are very smart, perhaps smarter than humans! To me, they are an inspiration to be joyful and playful.

I had mixed feelings about this dream of mine, however. I had issues with dolphins in captivity, swimming in pools instead of the open ocean. I wondered if they would be as joyful and as playful in the pool as they were swimming alongside boats, jumping and frolicking in the open water. I wanted so much to swim with them in their own environment, but I lacked the skills and the resources to do this.

When I visited Mexico last month, the opportunity arose for me to swim with the dolphins, even though it was in a pool. I was so excited!

The venue, Vallarta Adventures, did a good job educating the “swimmers” about the dolphins before we dove in. The beautiful dolphins we swam with were all rescues from the ocean, caught in fishing nets or injured, and could not be released back to the open waters. They would not survive out there. They are thriving, however, at the Center. They receive daily vet check ups and live to be 50 years old, far longer than in the wild. Two of the dolphins we swam with were pregnant! Meelah, the one pictured with me above, was so gentle and patient as I stroked her belly and blessed her new little one. Her skin was smooth and firm, and she even gave me a peck on the cheek! She followed the commands of her trainer, who clearly loved and respected her. The bond between the dolphin and trainer was strong and deep. The fishy treat as a reward after the session, for the dolphin, I’m sure was the best part!

Then the fun began, and all the dolphins were allowed to jump, play, and race around once we were out of the water. What a joy to see them frolicking together, clicking and laughing! I was filled with such joy just watching them!

I still wish every dolphin could remain in their own habitat as God intended. However, these loving creatures seem to have a mission. I truly felt that they were God’s gift to me, reminding me to smile, to be happy right along with them. As our bond with the dolphins remains strong, they have much to teach us about being joyful and playful in a sometimes dark and frightening world.

I did not take swimming with the dolphins off my bucket list…I want to do it again!

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