“Life isn’t a dress rehearsal,” my Dad always used to say to me. For some reason, his prophetic words were ringing in my ears as I touched down in Dubai for a week of rest, relaxation and recreation with some old friends.
This was my first visit to the UAE and driving down the traffic-packed Sheikh Zayed Road, impossibly tall skyscrapers glinting in the blazing early morning sun on either side of the road, I knew that this was going to be a holiday to remember.
My hosts had promised that they would line up a week jam-packed with the best entertainment that the city has to offer, and with their two kids chattering excitedly away in the back seat, they revealed the first destination of our whistle-stop tour… the Dubai Dolphinarium.
To say I was excited would be something of an understatement!
Now, despite hearing many people say, “No way would I get in the water with a fish that’s bigger than me!” or “Do you know how many teeth those things have?” I could not wait to swim with and ride on a dolphin – an item that has been on my bucket list forever. And I was finally going to cross it off!
Walking through the gates to the wonderful Creek Park, an oasis of calm and tranquility nestled in the centre of this bustling metropolis, my excitement continued to grow. Despite being assured by my friends that Dubai Dolphinarium is home to some of the best attractions for kids in the region, I have to say that my thoughts were a lot more selfish and centred on just one thing – dolphins!
The next thirty minutes passed in a bit of a blur and before I knew it I was sat on the edge of the training pool with my feet dangling in the water. A quick briefing from one of the Dolphinarium’s friendly and knowledgeable staff and then, all of a sudden, I got a glimpse of a dark shadow gliding through the water. Standing next to me at the edge of the water the trainer skillfully gave a few clicks and whistles and, as if from nowhere, the heads of three beautiful, smiling dolphins broke the surface of the water.
Lowering myself into the water with just a little trepidation, the next twenty minutes were spent in wonderful abandon as I interacted with these truly incredible, intelligent and inspirational mammals. Treading water in the middle of the pool, the dolphins playfully gamboling, jumping and performing tricks all around, really is something that I will never ever forget.
Unfortunately all good things have to come to an end, and with a great deal of reluctance I wistfully climbed out of the pool, leaving my newly found friends behind.
I know I’m going to sound like a great big cliché, but this really is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and something that words simply can’t do justice to. All I can say is that you just have to try it for yourself… Go on – you won’t be disappointed!