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Vacation Bucket Lists

Updated: Nov 15, 2018

We're on vacation at a fancy resort, compliments of our daughter and son-in-law. They're celebrating special birthdays, anniversaries and long-time friendships. We're enjoying fantastic weather, time with our grandchild and a new island to explore on our own. It's a win-win for everybody.

Like many folks our age, we're sensitive about how much things cost. It was with that mindset that I declined a generous invitation by my daughter to swim with the dolphins. When reservations were made a couple of months ago, I thought that instead, I'd take photos and hang out with a reluctant 4-year old, just in case he wasn't into it.

I'm also a little wary of places that might exploit wildlife for tourist purposes and i wasn't sure if I wanted to participate in anything that might prove to be sketchy. As it turns out, this particular resort is known as a marine rehabilitation facility and education center and after further research, my concerns were probably overblown.

This morning, as our daughter was confirming reservations at the dolphin pool, I scrolled through Facebook, which I hadn't checked since we left NY. One of our granddaughters had posted a message, "I'm intrigued. What is on your bucket list?" I was stunned for a moment... Swimming with dolphins has been on my bucket list forever.

Just then, from the pool desk our daughter yelled, "Mom, they have us signed up for 5 instead of 4. It looks like you'll have to join us!" Serendipity! I didn't hesitate.

I quickly returned to FB and texted my granddaughter, "Swimming with dolphins! 10 minutes and counting. At our age, why wait?"

Ten minutes later, touching the smooth skin of a dolphin was an unforgettable experience. It was pure wonder and joy and I'm so grateful I didn't miss this!

Our particular dolphin, Kelly, was one of 17 rescues from Katrina. Their habitat collapsed into ruin during the hurricane. After the storm, the dolphins were unable to survive on their own in the ocean. This Center was constructed specifically to rehabilitate them and educate the public about their environmental needs.

As the climate warms, coastlines rise and dolphin sanctuaries collapse in stormy weather, these sanctuaries will likely become more rare.

So, now I'm intrigued: When our grandchildren get older, will they have bucket lists that will someday include swimming with the dolphins? If so, will they also have an opportunity to fulfill their dreams? Or, will their bucket lists have price tags that are too high and environmental warrantees that expired long before.

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