For this week's Outlawz Challenge, we want you to create something to celebrate summer, and be sure to add a greeting! And this week we have Eureka/QKR as sponsors:
This should be a fairly easy challenge for y'all. Hope to see lots of entries this week!
Before I get to my card, I want to take a moment to add some vacation memories. This is really for my benefit, not yours. I need to blog about it, so that I don't forget. I suppose I could write it down in a diary, but I couldn't easily add the photos; so that isn't really an option for me. You will just have to skip ahead if you don't want to reminisce with me.
I have a bucket list. I didn't when I was young, but when you get to be my age, and time is getting shorter, it is easy to think of the things you wish you could experience before the time is up. Seeing whales was on my bucket list, and I was able to check that off. I also had swimming with dolphins on my list. As it turned out, I was able to check that off as well, thanks to Dolphin Encounters in the Bahamas.
When we decided to go to Atlantis, I checked into the activities there. Imagine my thrill when I found out that they had a dolphin encounter at the resort! Finally, I could experience interacting with dolphins. Well, hold on there, Buckaroo. Not so fast. I did my research and found out that the encounter at Atlantis was not really that exciting for many of its adult participants. So I researched further, and found that Dolphin Encounters on Salt Cay, or Blue Lagoon Island as they call it, was very well-received by the grown-ups. And, in spite of what you believe, I do count myself as an adult.
So we made the arrangements ahead of time to have a swim with the dolphins. A swim is different than an encounter. It is longer, more involved, and costs a LOT more! I definitely wanted to do the swim, so Gary told me to sign us up. He didn't need to tell me twice! I signed us up for the first Wednesday that we were there.
On the first Monday of our trip, we noticed that the forecast was for rain on Wednesday, so we called and changed our dolphin swim to Friday. Which was just as well, because it gave the incision on my shoulder more time to heal. Anyway, on Friday we were picked up by a very large catamaran. The trip was only 20 minutes, through mostly very calm water. So Gary didn't get seasick at all, which made us both very happy!
We were in the first group for the swim. They had us in a lecture area, so that we would learn enough about the dolphins to interact with them. Don't touch the dolphin below the belly-button; to touch, wax on and wax off; and never touch or feed a wild dolphin. Yes, there was more info; but, honestly, she talked so fast and had such a strong Bahamian accent, that it was really hard to understand her. We then proceeded to the locker area, where we put our valuables, and Gary and I got into our wetsuits. Then it was on to the life jackets. Which really didn't go too well for me. Because they tried one on me that was too small; then they told me to grab this other one, which mostly fit me. Unfortunately, no one tightened it just right, so it pretty much floated above my head while I was in the water. Which caused two problems--it made me float away from everything I was supposed to do, and it made me look really odd on video and in photos. As you will see below.
So our dolphin was Princess--their oldest at 45 years of age. She had been with them the longest. She was also pregnant--due sometime this fall. What??? Dolphin life expectancy in the wild is 25 years. And she's pregnant at 45? That would be a nightmare for a human being, much less a dolphin. I feel for her, I really do. Imagine raising a baby when your grandchildren are having kids. Just. isn't. right.
Anyway, Princess and her trainer are full of the devil. No, not literally; just figuratively. He had her splashing the crap out of us when we first got in the water. And you could tell she was having fun doing it. I was laughing like crazy, but, since we were in a salt-water lagoon, it did hurt to get the water in our eyes. I just turned my back to her. Laughing the whole time. Especially since I kept floating away with myself. Due to that da** life jacket.
Each one of us--and there were a total of five--got to interact with Princess separately. We all got a kiss from her, we all got to kiss her on the chin, we all got to "dance" with her, (which was a riot: you hold onto her pectoral fins while she sings (?) along with her trainer and bounces you up and down), we all got to hug her--which was a wonderful experience. Until I floated away. Because of that da** life jacket. Oh, and we each got to take a fish from her mouth and then give it back to her. (Only he told me to put the fishtail in between my teeth and then let her grab it. And I actually started to do that--even had the fish touching my lips. YUCK. Then he laughed and said he was just kidding. I believe I called him a brat, though I certainly could have used a different name if there hadn't been other peeps around.) And we each had a little bit different moment with her. Mine was to touch her teeth, while her mouth was stretched wide open. Let me tell you, dolphin teeth are extremely sharp! It takes a lot of trust to put your fingers in an animal's mouth. But I still have mine, so I guess it was well-placed trust.
And then there was the foot-push. Which Princess didn't do--she took her leave of us by turning upside-down in the water and waving goodbye with her tail fin. It was really cute! Then her daughter and granddaughter and a baby dolphin came into our lagoon for the foot-push. (Although I am not sure why the baby was there, as it just seemed to get in the way.)
Dolphins weigh over 400 pounds. And there is one bottle-nose on each of your feet--so that's 800 pounds of pressure pushing you forward. I know they can get up to 25 miles per hour, though I have no idea how fast we actually went. I just know that it was a wonderful rush to zoom across that lagoon half out of the water. And I also know that it really does hurt your feet, although the pain goes away fairly quickly. At least for me it did. But not so much for Gary. Poor baby. His "push" was only halfway across the lagoon--he must have bent his knees, because the dolphins backed down quickly. (For me they waited until the whistle blew, because I wanted the entire ride!) He told me that the toes on his good foot felt sprained, and it hurt his "bad" foot, (the one he broke in 2010 and had surgery to repair), too. But he didn't tell the trainer this, and so he got a second push--which ended up being shorter than his first one. Apparently the baby dolphin went across his path, so he abruptly bent his knees. Again. Oh well, at least I had fun with it--though you wouldn't know it to see the expression on my face. (Looks can be deceiving.)
All in all, I felt that the entire dolphin experience was worth every penny of the $185 per person that it cost. (Not to mention the ~$175 for the video & photos.) We got an entire hour's worth of dolphin interaction, which was more than I ever dreamed I would have. Now, if the trainer just hadn't mentioned the Sky Juice to Gary, it would have been perfect. But he did. And Gary promptly took me over to the beach area, plopped me down, and went and got us each a Sky Juice. OMG. Potent much?
Let's put it this way. Gary was thirsty. And all he had was the Sky Juice to drink. So he drank it. Quickly. Like, man, he gulped it down. And was smacked senseless. Well, almost anyway. I never did finish my drink. We were there for another two hours and I only drank half of mine--because I really wasn't too crazy about it. But Gary couldn't even go up to get his lunch for an hour after he finished his drink, because he couldn't walk. And once he did go get his food, he stayed right there, because he was afraid to walk back. So I didn't see him for almost another hour. My advice: don't ever drink a Sky Juice. You will be sorry if you do. Other than that, the day at the Dolphin Encounter was a definite success.
So here are some photos from that day:
Blue Lagoon Island (or Salt Cay)
Paradise Island in background
Where you can, but should not, get Sky Juice
Beach area where we consumed Sky Juice
Cafe with so-so food, but we were starving!
Catamaran shuttle--seriously, can you believe the water color?
Lagoon swim area in the center section with the two blue roofs
In the following photos, please note my lovely life-jacket/hat:
Gary, and Princess, and yours truly
Yes, wax on, wax off, but don't go below the belly button
Her kiss is not exactly gentle
Princess madly splashing us
Those sharp teeth!
The cross-eyed kiss
At the mercy of my life jacket
Taking the fish from Princess
Yup--the fish and I--so glad they caught this: Not!
Giving the fish back to Princess
Dancing with Princess, while she is
Wish he'd kiss me like that
Were they waltzing?
And I can't believe I showed you all these photos of me with such gorgeous hair and sans make-up. But this was really my best-est day in the Bahamas. And now that I have thoroughly embarrassed myself, I will switch to my card for the week.
A friend of ours passed away in April, and I wanted to send a card to his widow, just to let her know we are thinking about her. So I used a QKR Stampede image called Picking Flowers. I printed her on MICBC and then colored her with Copics and Twin Touch Brush markers:
Skin: E000, TTR131, TTYR133, TTR139
Hair: E13, E15, E18
Hat, Basket, Shoes: YR21, YR24
Dress, Bloomers, & Socks: YG00, TTGY48, TTGY163
Flowers: RV00, RV52, RV55, R22, R24, R27, YR000, YR18
Shadow: W0, W1
I chose DP from the SEI Sunny Day collection, and I paper-pieced her pinafore with it. My CS is from Stampin' Up, as is the sentiment. The fishtail dies were from MFT. And that's it for this week.
Hope you join us in our challenge. Be sure to catch all the fun creations by my talented teamies. And have a wonderful week!