Saturday 6 November 2004

A Dolphin Slimed Me

Up early and off to Seb's swimming lessons. I could see that he had regained his "no fear" attitude since last class. He loves going to these classes with his Dad and he does love the water. After classes we raced home, changed our clothes and then Charles, Sebastian and myself headed off to Ocean Park. This place is best described as a combination of West Ed’s Galaxy land/ Water park and Vancouver’s Stanley Park all combined into one huge amusement/play area. It also has an Amazon bird area, a panda bear exhibit, a Japan botanical garden section, and it goes on and on. The only way to access the aquarium part of the park is by a 10 minute long cable car ride up and along the side of the mountain. Yes this park is up on top of a mountain. Seb was almost inside out as we approached the entrance as he was pointing and exclaiming “Look Auntie Pammie, cable cars!” On we got and started the ride. The view was incredible from this cable car, you overlook the ocean and some incredibly $$ homes that are built on the mountain. It was very peaceful and quiet up there. Once we arrived at the main area it was very busy and swarming with tour groups and kids running around that were higher on sugar than I ever remember being as a kid.

We made our way over to a few of the smaller rides and did them with Seb, he loved them and was wearing a perma grin on his face! We went and saw the harbour seals and the Wharf display, which is modeled after Pier 39 in San Francisco. We did some fun gag photos that showed him being eaten by a dinosaur, with myself on the ground watching, hands on my face as I am screaming in fear. Charles is doing a karate kick at the Dinosaur's face (matrix style type of kicks), we were in hysterics while this was being done. Also trying to get a small child to stay still while pretending to be eaten by a dinosaur is not an easy task.

After getting our photos back, we asked Seb if he wanted to see the dolphin show, he was excited about that. After getting great seats the show started a few minutes after. The announcer came out on stage and asked if she could have a volunteer to help with the dolphins, you had to not be afraid of getting wet. I thought why not and my hand shot up before I had a chance to re-think my decision. The announcer picked a lady not too far from us; my hand went back down, until I saw him looking again. Next thing I know, I am headed down to the stage area. She asked both of us volunteers what our names were and where we were from. I have full blown laryngitis and as my voice cracked while trying to say my name, it came out sounding like, "amela from anada" ( Pamela from Canada). The crowd loved it and clapped for us both.

We were then shuttled to behind the scenes and were taught 4 hand signals to use on the dolphins. We were to dance and wave our arms (they do the same), we were to do the twist (they do the same), we were to flap our hand back and forth (the dolphins wave their tales, and finally we were to use our arms and imitate a orchestra conductor, at which point they ‘sing”.

The announcer fitted us with life jackets and some pretty sweet little white rubber boots (I loved the boots). After this, we were shuttled behind the stage and watched the show from behind. There were over 300 people in the stands watching and the kids loved the show. Then it was our turn, I was re-introduced as "Pammie" and I guess the Chinese people loved my name. It was so wild to be standing not 10 feet from dolphins and seals. We stood on the edge of the pool area and did our signals, the dolphins did their act and it went off without a hitch. I looked up at Sebastian and Charles at one point and waved, I got a wave back from them, and Seb had the biggest grin on his face.

The trainer(s) then got the dolphins to jump out of the pool and glide their way up to the platform area (about 10 feet from pools edge), At which point I was crouching beside “Molly” who was a 19 year old dolphin, and she was actually a boy. He then said smile, and I put my hand on Molly and stroked her back while my pictures was taken. It was one of the COOLEST things I have ever done in my life. Molly decided I was not wet enough and opened up her little blowhole and let me have it twice, right smack in the face. I took it was a compliment and kept stroking her back. What a beautiful animal. Then back we went to the dressing area; I had to return the boots L and then rejoined Charles and Sebastian. Seb thought it was pretty cool that Auntie Pammie got to play with the dolphins. I was on cloud nine for the rest of the day! I got a great shot of myself with Molly, which I will proudly display.

Lunch at McDonald's, rides on the ferris wheel, went to the shark tank and it was wild! Seb went on a few kids rides before he had reached his limit. We then came home, all tuckered out, but thrilled. Ocean Park was a blast. We spent a quiet night at home and relaxed.
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