Dubai, 6th February 2012
Do you have a dolphin lover in the family? Chances are you have, who doesn’t love those creatures with a perma-grin on their face? I have a dolphin-mad teenager in the house and on a special occasion last weekend, I finally succumbed to taking her to meet the dolphins at Atlantis the Palm.
I say I finally succumbed, because quite honestly, I have never been keen on the idea of treating dolphins like tourist attractions, but when you keep getting puppy eyes and pouting lips, then eventually even my walls crumble.
And I must say, I was pleasantly surprised. The Dolphin Encounter is extremely well organised, subjected to strict rules – even I had to peel off my wedding ring after decades of uninterrupted wear, because they can scratch the dolphin. Even hair bobbles are a no-no. You get a lecture about dolphins and learn a few new tit—bits that even hardened enthusiasts may not have known before. I didn’t realise that dolphins are conscious breathers, i.e. they have to think about every breath they take. If they were to go into a deep sleep, they basically would forget to breathe and drown – so they tend to rest rather than sleep.
There are two trainers per dolphin making sure the dolphin is happy at all times, ahead of making the paying guests happy. As they should. But even though you will be part of a group of nine people, nobody gets an extra sausage, as we say in Germany, i.e. everybody, no matter how much fuss they may make, gets the same amount of time with the animal.
So, it is touristy, it is organised, it is gimmicky. But. You get to touch a dolphin, even have a kiss and a hug, get to play with it, in our case, her: Lexy, and not once did I have the feeling that the dolphin may have thought this in any way tedious. She got her fish, was loved and admired by every single person and got to play ball and show off her high jump. Not so bad for a day’s work.
And the teenager? Was happy beyond words. Definitely not a bad day’s work.
To book your experience, have a look here. There are different options; we went for the basic Dolphin Encounter that took overall around one hour 30 minutes, and was really lovely. You cannot take your camera into the pool, but the photographer takes lots of pictures which you can buy either printed or on CD when leaving.