Friday, March 22, 2013

Dolphins and Sharks, Oh My!

As soon as we told the kids we'd be taking them to Hawaii the questions came continuously.  Of course they wanted to know all about where we would be staying, what the beaches and water were like, and then they moved on to what would we be doing while we were there.  Zip line was one of the first requests for the boys. Turns out they don't have them on Oahu.  Brynnes first and most ardent request was to swim with dolphins.
Most places I could find were just raft trips where you might see dolphins.  Brynne wanted to get into the water with them.  After a lot of searching I found a place. When we told them about Brynnes special needs, they decided to give her a one on one session.
Brynne was really excited but started getting a little nervous right about the time the life jacket came out.  You can see it in her expression here.
When Brynne saw where we would be standing, about 30 feet away from where she would be with the instructor, she panicked and asked if I could go in with her.

 They said I could but I'd have to sign a waiver and wear a life jacket to sit on the dock near her.
Brynne has an issue with germs lately and became a little apprehensive about touching the dolphin after she realized that it was swimming in salt water and that there were other little fish swimming in there. I realized this little experience was going to end up very differently than she had imagined if she couldn't deal with it.
Jenny, the instructor, was really sweet with Brynne and altered the plan a bit. She taught Brynne all about the different parts of the dolphin and had her do various hand motions to prompt the dolphins to do tricks.  Brynne eventually started to relax and slowly ended up inching in to the water.
As soon as she offered Brynne a dead frozen fish to feed to the dolphin Brynne was up and outta there as fast as you could blink!
 Unfortunately the best moments with the dolphin are only on video and since I know nobody wants to sit through a 17 minute dolphin adventure experience with us I just took snapshots from the video. The video is in HD but as I tried making the pictures big enough to see they only come out blurry.  I'm a bit frustrated about this and wish I would have just spent the extra cash to get the pictures they took even though the prices they were asking for would only make sense if the pictures each came framed in gold, but whatever!
 I wish you could see how big she was grinning here as she held on to each of the fins and danced with the dolphin, and when she finally was okay with touching the dolphins head and rubbing his nose.
 I wish I could have bottled the sound of her giggle as Jenny showed Brynne that if she snapped her fingers simultaneously and swished them from side to side the dolphin would sway to whichever side your fingers moved to, just like he was dancing!
 It was so fun to watch him flip and twirl from so close up
 Even better to have seen Brynne give him the signal to do so
 Another fun trick was watching them signal to the dolphin to back up 
The time flew by for Brynne and she was surprised when it was finally time to go.  She may not have gotten all the way in to swim with a dolphin, but she danced with one and bossed him around.  Guess that's as much as anybody should count on from little miss sassy pants!
Earlier that morning while Brynne and I were dropping the Skinners off at the airport, Jeff and the boys went up to the north shore to swim with sharks.  I had decided I was going to go do this with them but the only time slots available for swimming with Dolphins on the south shore, and Sharks on the north shore, were overlapping.  There was no way to fit them both in!
The guys arrived at the marina at 6 am and climbed aboard a little boat
They headed out into the ocean a ways and then stopped
They put a cage out in the water where they would be able to swim and snorkel, protected from the sharks
The boys watched as things were getting set up
They said there were at least 20 sharks that came around and most of them were about 8-12 feet long!  Unfortunately, they only took video of this experience too.  When Jeff posts it to you tube I'll add a link here for anyone who wants to watch.
After swimming with all the creatures of the sea, we made our way back for one last day at the hotel.  
I had to take a picture of all my little creatures in the pool!
Jeff joined us for most of the day and since I'd been on Brynne duty all week, it was his turn to enjoy some swimming with our little fish.
They found a mermaid reading stories to the kids in one of the pools!
 I just love how beautiful this resort is.  With several pools with waterfalls, big huge rocks, and lush landscaping it really did feel like paradise.
 Late afternoon it started to rain again and it got pretty windy, so the boys came back to find out what our plan was. I told them they all looked so cute in their matching skirts.
Naturally, this made them feel the need to do something they considered worthy of keeping their "man cards".  They went to the class to learn how to twirl the fire sticks that they use in the shows.   
 It was hilarious watching them learn the rules and patterns for the twisting and turning of the sticks.  There were more than a few sticks that went a flying.  But then they really got the hang of it.
 In fact Drew got so fast that his stick just looked like a big blurry circle.  I was pretty impressed!
 As the sun began to set on our last night, we were waiting for the valet to bring the car up and I snapped a few shots of this paradise we had called home. I was not looking forward to leaving!
A nice man offered to take a few pictures of our family while I had my camera out
The settings were a little off and the pictures came out dark, but I was grateful still.  It had been so nice to spend the week watching my kids discover a new place, make new friends, enjoy each others company, and just have fun playing together!

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