Dear Steemit Friends :
During my stay in Atlantis, I had the pleasure of visiting their very own Dolphin rescue-rehabilitation facility which happens to be one of the largest in the world. Named Dolphin Cay, the main mammals who live here are of course Dolphins, who have access to around 14-acres and 6.6 million gallons of crystal clear seawater.
Most of the dolphins at Dolphin Cay were relocated from the Marine Life Oceanarium, Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Since then, they have had a very successful breeding program with 16 new dolphin births since 2007.
As you can see from the Map, the Dolphin Cay is just a few minutes walk from the Royal Towers but because of it's popularity, booking an experience is advisable several days in advance.
Aside from swimming with the dolphins, you can also have experiences with Sea Lions and Stingrays.
Although the Dolphins tend to steal the show here, I opted for the lesser known Sea Lions Interaction experience. Many reviews have cited the Sea Lion interaction as being the best out of the three.
I've always had a weak spot for Sea Lions, mostly because they look like the cats of the sea. You know how much I like cats right?
The whole resort is well connected either through in door walk ways, or these sun shaded paths.
On the way to Dolphin Cay, I saw these newts just hanging out in the sun. The size of them on the screen is roughly the actual size of these tiny reptiles!
My slot was for just after lunch. By that time, the sun was already shining fiercely, just a few moments in the sun and I could feel the immense heat.
This is the main booking area. If you've already booked, then it is also the place you report to at least 15 minutes before your allocated slot.
Hanging on the ceiling, they have four very appropriate life size Dolphins for decoration.
After checking in, the staff takes us to this waiting area where the rest of the group will gather.
On the way there, you can see this private beach area which is only available to people who have booked an experience.
On the wall, there is some key information about the Dolphins. Strangely, there is no information about Sea Lions!
You are provided with a free locker to store all your belongings. No jewellery or electronic equipment is allowed.
We're also required to wear a wet suit and floating vest.
After putting the wet suit on, I'm feeling more and more like a professional trainer!
Emotions are sky high!
The Sea Lions
The group that I was in had 12 people. All very keen to meet and greet the Sea Lions. Before doing so, we were taken on a tour of their facilities.
At Dolphin Cay, they have around 90 specialist veterinarians / trainers and support staff all helping to ensure the safety, health and comfort of the animals here at all times.
I wasn't allowed to have pictures taken of the laboratory, but the trainer told us about the work they do each day to make sure their sea lions stay healthy. Frequent samples of their urine and faeces are examined to ensure they're diet is good. Another issue they pointed out was that Sea Lions have a tendency to get Cataracts as they age. This means that their vision becomes degraded if nothing is done about it.
Thankfully, their specialist veterinarians are able to give all Sea Lions who develop Cataracts the necessary surgery to save their vision.
Finally, we get to meat the Sea Lion! At first we were told to sit by the pool and the Sea Lion called Carnella would swim over and let us stroke her on the back.
One important rule was not to touch the Sea Lion's head. They can react quite violently if you do.
After introducing us to Carnella, she was much more relaxed and ready for us to interact with her a little more.
The trainer called us up one by one to greet Carnella. I was a little scared at first because Carnella is quite a big girl! She weighs over 300lbs!
Soon enough we became good friends, and she even stood up to have a photo. Isn't she so tall!
Pose and smile for the camera!
She's so cute! She even stuck her tongue out!
The last part of the interaction, we were welcomed into the deeper part of the pool where we were introduced to another Sea Lion from North America.
The trainer told us that when they train the Sea Lions, they like to use positive reinforcement in the form of little treats each time they attempt to perform a trick.
I was given the opportunity feed a sea lion a fish for being so friendly with me!
Did you know, that Sea Lions can eat 10% of their body weight in fish every single day!?
Lastly, we were given the chance to swim with the Sea Lion in the deep end!
And that wraps up my Sea Lion experience at Dolphin Cay, Atlantis, Bahamas!
I must say, it was a very enriching experience. Not only did I have the pleasure of meeting, and playing with two gorgeous Sea Lions, I also learned a lot of interesting things about them I never knew before!
Lots of people say Sea Lions are like the dogs of the sea, but I disagree! They are called Sea lions for a reason!
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