I recently returned from perhaps the best vacation of my life! Eight days on the Mayan Riviera, where some friends and I stayed at the Riu Palace Mexico, a five-star resort south of Cancun/Cozumel. I highly recommend a trip there to all of you. The all-inclusive package is a "best buy," for sure. The cuisines (yes, several), the clear blue-green ocean, the swim-up bar, the massage and spa are just a few of many highlights I have taken home with me. Far and away, though, the biggest, most memorable highlight was swimming with the dolphins. It’s something I’ve long wanted to do and so could not pass up the opportunity when it came. Dolphins live up to 40 years in captivity (much less in the wild, because of predators). The sanctuary I visited houses 18 dolphins (including one or two pregnant females). Several vans full of visitors arrived at the appointed hour (the first scheduled for the day) and, after a brief orientation, were fitted with life jackets and divided into groups of about six or so. There were about six such groups, each with its own dolphin and trainer. The dolphins’ habitat is ocean water (sans current and waves--except for what these mammals stirred). They work their fins off; no wonder there are at least two other groups of dolphins waiting their turn in the cycle. Extremely intelligent, sweet, friendly, playful and willing to please their audience, these social mammals entertained us for 45 minutes with all sorts of tricks and maneuvers. The high point, though, was the feel of a snout pushing me (from the bottom of the right foot) straight across the water at rapid speed, with torso on high! "Exhilarating" doesn’t come close to describing this experience. That I am a serious animal lover is no secret. While I won’t claim any favorite species or breed, I must confess that Flipper has won a special place in my heart. I can’t wait to ride with him again. Pat Kossmann
love the dolphins!