Swimming with a dolphin
I've always wanted to swim with dolphins. Lovina in Bali is famous for dolphins and I visited it recently. When I got to the dolphin pool, I became anxious. It all seemed very complicated for someone with limited vision. But then they took me to another pool. This pool belongs to a dolphin called Gombloh. Gombloh has been specially trained to be with people with disabilities. He is very gentle and we played for nearly an hour. I learnt later that to swim with a dolphin is considered very good luck.
Posted by: Kate Giles, on 05/10/12
I always wanted to swim with dolphins.
Like most people, I love dolphins. They always seem to be having so much fun. As a small child, I wanted to be part of that fun. And so, a lifelong ambition to swim with the dolphins began.
My husband and I were recently on a daytrip to Lovina in Bali. Lovina is famous for dolphins. We had wanted to stay there but because of a mix–up in bookings, we had to be content with a day trip.
We were in a car when we noticed a sign that said
Swim with dolphins. I was becoming excited. And as the driver headed back to this dolphin resort, I felt like a little kid again.
But my excitement was short lived. When we arrived at the resort the receptionist told us all the dolphin swims were sold out for the day.
I must have looked so very disappointed because the receptionist also looked sad. But after a chat to our driver, she quickly made a couple of phone calls. Then smiling sweetly she told us to come back at 2pm.
Just before 2pm, we made our way down to the dolphin pool where one session was in full swing.
As my husband was explaining to me what was happening in the session he was watching, I began to get nervous. There were five participants and three dolphins. And with instructions from the trainers, the dolphins were doing all sorts of tricks as they swam in, out and around those in the pool. It seemed extremely complicated for someone with limited vision.
I was thinking, how on earth would I keep up with a group of people and a pod of dolphins? Anxiety set in. And when my name was called out, anxiety turned to panic.
Gombloh, a gentle dolphin
One of the trainers explained we were going to another pool. It was Gombloh's pool. Gombloh is a very gentle dolphin, especially trained to interact with people with disabilities. And as I have a disability, it was decided to allow Gombloh to swim with me.
My first instruction was to sit on the pool step. This beautiful dolphin came up to me. He nuzzled into my face. He then rolled over for me to rub his tummy. It felt very soft, like satin.
After that, I moved to the centre of the pool. Gombloh swam around me, pausing for me to rub my hands over his back. His back was much tougher than his tummy and felt very much like wet rubber. If I didn't see him coming he would rub against my leg to let me know he was ready to play.
And play we did. When I clapped my hands, Gombloh would swoosh his tail backwards and forwards. This would lever him up out of the water and he would clap his flippers. When I splashed my hands on the water, Gombloh would splish-splash along the top of the water in front of me. And then he would turn upside down in the water so I could rub his tummy.
A ride around the pool on his dorsal fin was also a favourite.
Goodbye and good luck
After nearly an hour of fun and games, I fed Gombloh some fish. Then it was time to go. Gombloh floated backwards across the pool waving his flippers. It was his way of saying goodbye.
I learnt later that to swim with a dolphin brings good luck. And as I wait patiently for my tattslotto numbers to come up, I realise I'm luckier than most. I fulfilled yet another childhood dream. I may have only played with one dolphin but it was Gombloh, a very special dolphin indeed.
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