Why does my mind keep going back to Thursday, May 7??? I think about this day every day – and I can tell you why….
When I first booked my Shallow Water Dolphin Experience at Dolphin Marine Magic in Coffs Harbour back at the end of February for the date I did, I told the person I booked it with that it was a self-brought birthday present for myself. Little was I to know what was to come on the day…. word had filtered back to Paige, the CEO of Dolphin Marine Magic and Paige, along with her staff, had planned something so special and so unexpected. I arrived on the day to check in for the Shallow Experience only to be told there was some amazing news at the bookings desk – I wondered what that might have been so I walked over and handed the lady there the paperwork (which I had previously signed for my Shallow Experience). She then issued me with my wristbands – I stood there looking at the orange wristband on my left wrist…. it was only then I was told my Shallow Dolphin Experience (purple/pink wristband) had been upgraded to the top level Ultimate Dolphin Swim (hence the orange wristband). I realise now I should have got someone to photograph my face – MasterCard priceless comes to mind right now! I had to stand there for a few seconds to comprehend what I had just been told…. and believe me: it took a while to sink in afterwards!
I went out to experience all the pre-show encounters (from seal and dolphin kisses to a double dolphin hug) then got to take part in the first Marine Discovery Presentation. Then it was time to head off for my in-water interaction – and what an experience it was! I got to meet Paige during the pre-encounter brief – the trainer who took us through the brief had said we were working with Calamity. Paige hinted at a surprise – that surprise was in the shape of 9 year old Bella…. I was so surprised! During the swim, we had the most amazing opportunities. My favourite of these was the foot push – I laid down on a body board and Bella pushed me from one side of the pool to the other. After this, I was given yet another opportunity – this opportunity was in the shape of a female Australian Sea Lion named Athena. I got to be the first guest to get a hand push off Athena – the trainers were training her to do them during the Seal Swim encounters. Athena is the most energetic Australian Sea Lion in the family…. I also got to learn about her during this encounter.
All in all, a absolutely terrific day and one I will never forget for as long as I live!