Thursday, November 17, 2011

Wednesday, Nov 16, 2011, Puerto Vallarta

For some reason neither of us slept last very well last night, so we got up really tired.  We think that we are maybe just overloaded on too much really, really good food.  And tonight we have reservations for the Vintage Room.  Oh my, when it rains it pours.  Anyway, we arrived in PV at about 8am.  Being so beat, we didn’t exercise (sigh).

Our tour was “Swim with the Dolphins”, leaving at 9am.  We made our way to the Starlight lounge and waited for our turn.  That time arrived and we were herded down to some waiting busses.  It turns out that this tour is run by a company called Vallarta Adventures (and as you will see, they were EXCELLENT).  There were 18 of us plus our Crystal guide. 

We boarded the bus and drove about 20 minutes north to the compound where they had the dolphin adventure.  Upon arrival, we were met by our hostess, Iris.  She told us what to expect and we went inside, going to a waiting area where we were to be briefed on our experience.  It turns out that it was an excellent talk about dolphins, their evolution and other aspects.  After that, we went to their large pool that contained the six dolphins (varying in age from 8 months to 35 years old).  We were divided in half and then given a chance to have a sea lion kiss you for a picture.  That sea lion was HUGE!!  After that, we donned life jackets and were warned that we you are not allowed to take pictures from the pool area (you can take them from the observation area, but since both of us were participating there was no way to get any pictures).  The have a camera person with you all of the time taking lots and lots of pictures (of course with plans to sell them to you). 

We jumped into the water and spread out.  Our two dolphins were instructed to swim around us and we were to pet them.  Their skin is kind of rubbery, but smooth.  You could just tell that they are powerful, powerful creatures.  After five minutes of just interacting with them, they did their first routine.  We all went against the wall and one person at a time went out about ten feet from the edge of the pool and the dolphin came out, gave a kiss, received a kiss, and then you grabbed their pectoral fins and the dolphin danced and made dolphin sounds. It was really, really cool.  The dolphin then went back for a fish treat and you then held out your arms under water and they swam into them, so you could give them a hug.  They then rolled over exposing their stomachs.  We both took our turns at this fun exercise.

Next up was a ride on both dolphins.  What happened is the two dolphins swam out and you grabbed a dorsal fin of each dolphin in each hand.  They then swam you around in a big circle.  They are really fast and it was quite exciting.  Along with us was a family that had one kid who was probably three years old and he even did it.  It was all pretty amazing.

The last step was to be hauled over to the ladder so you could get out of the pool.  You did this in pairs. The dolphins rolled over on their backs, you grabbed their pectoral fins and they swam  “belly to belly” over to the end of the pool where you got out.  After everyone was out of the pool (well, you were sitting on the edge with your feet hanging in), the dolphins did a show right in front of you.  Including, out of the water jumps, going 40 miles per hour under the water, front flips, etc.  It was simply amazing (the finale was all 6 of them jumping out of the water at the same time). 

After the show, we did a quick rinse off of the salt water and went to the snack bar where a buffet lunch was waiting (we didn’t remember reading that a lunch was included in this excursion, but it was).  We relaxed and then boarded our bus for the short ride back to the ship.

That afternoon, we decided to hang out at the pool on deck 11.  The weather was simply amazing, 75 degrees and absolutely perfect.  We spent about 2.5 hours there, snoozing (catching up on our sleep), and relaxing.  We then went down to get ready for dinner (the Vintage room has Informal attire, so we got dressed up).  We also went down and watched sail away (the Disney Wonder was in port with us and we got to look closely at their beautiful, classic oceanliner-style ship). 

The Vintage room dinner started at 7pm and we had 12 people there.  There were seven courses and a wine paired with each.  This was our second Vintage room and we thoroughly enjoyed the food, wine, and company.

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