Not that kind of SEAL, although there's certainly enough reasons to fall in love with them, too. And I actually got to train with those SEALS once, too. Well, kind of. But that's a story for another day!
This time, I mean real seals. Or rather, sea lions. Yes, I'm talking about those sleek majestic creatures that plow through water and make those cute woofing-barking sounds.
My husband and I went to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, a few weeks ago—our first trip there. And yes, we did the sightseeing and tequila tours and the whole beach-and-pool thing. But I wanted to do something else, a bucket list item: I wanted to swim with the dolphins.
You see, I used to work at the National Aquarium in Baltimore and got to see the dolphins every day. But I ran the retail operations there so that was all I got to do: see them, wave to them, play with them through the glass. So yes, a bucket list item was to actually swim and play with the dolphins, up close and personal.
So we did. And yes, it was wonderful! A real dream come true. If you get a chance to do it—do it!
I know, you're asking yourself what this has to do with sea lions. Well, when we checked in for the dolphin swim, they asked if we wanted to add on the sea lion adventure. I glanced at hubby.
Me: You want to do the sea lion thing?
Hubby (giving me a weird look): Really?
Me: Yeah, it'll be fun.
Hubby (rolling his eyes): Not really, no.
Me (maybe kind of pouting): But I want to!
Hubby (shaking his head and trying not to laugh at me): Then go ahead. I'll just watch.
Bingo! One sea lion adventure coming up.
I really had no idea what to expect. Maybe a quick intro to learn about them; maybe lean over and toss them some disgusting raw fish or give them a quick pet. I was honestly clueless. I mean, everyone talks about the dolphins but I don't think I've ever heard anyone talk about swimming with the sea lions.
Let me tell you: I am so glad I did that impulsive add-on because I had more fun with the sea lion than I did with the dolphins!
Maybe it was because I didn't know what to expect. Maybe it was because I was the only person there. I don't know why, I just know it was way more fun than the dolphins!
It started with meeting the trainer, Jesus. He went over everything, gave me a lesson about sea lions, talked about conservation and rehab, told me what we were going to do. Then he introduced me to Marina, the female sea lion. A quick jump in the pool (which was a lot colder than I was expecting!) and it was play time!
Marina was the perfect hostess: cute and cuddly, smiling and winking, giving me hugs and kisses. Seriously. And we're talking real hugs here—there aren't any other kind when a 450-pound sea lion decides to give you a bear hug! And maybe she had fish-breath but with her diet, I can't really blame her.
I left the sea lion adventure with a new best friend, and memories of a lifetime. I also walked away with a lesson: bucket lists are great and I think everyone should have one. But never underestimate the lure of an impulsive adventure!
Oh…this has nothing to do with anything but I thought I'd do a shameless plug here as well. My newest release, PLAYING THE GAME, just came out on February 14. PTG is the launch title in a new hockey romance series, The York Bombers, and is already getting some great reviews! You can read more about it by checking things out here.
Until next time!