I kissed a whale, and I liked it… San Diego, day 2

I’m still not quite on California time yet, and somehow I woke up unprovoked at 7:14AM. It’s either that, or I was just so excited to see Shamu again! (It has literally been like 20 years since I last went to Sea World). Either way, my friend Michelle and I woke up early, lingered for a while in our hotel and then finally got up and motivated around 8ish.

Our goal for the day was Seal World – and we got our $50 worth (there are discount codes on retailmenot.com). Although the day started out with a question – who knew that even though they spell out every single ingredient in a breakfast burrito except for beans (and I quote “eggs, cheese, bacon and potatoes”) that there would still be beans in the burritos – the day was one of the best days ever.

After the burrito fiasco (that they let us trade in for bagels and cream cheese), we headed over to the Dolphin Show. We sat in the front row, otherwise known as the “soak zone” and not only got to see dolphins swim casually by, but also birds fly overhead and some sort of whale graciously flap its tail fin and completely soak us. It was about this time that I decided that I needed to fulfill my dream of swimming with the dolphins. Sadly, that was sold out. But the Beluga Whale adventure still had one opening. If that’s not fate, I don’t know what is. So, the money I saved up for spa day, went to swimming with the whales, and it was worth every penny. Before we get to my whale adventure – we went to see Shamu. Those killer whales were as amazing as ever. Huge, grand, smart and they like to splash. What more is there to say.

After a visit to the Cirque de Mer, my whale adventure finally started. The adventure included a “backstage” visit of a walrus and a polar bear. I got to feed a HUGE walrus. He didn’t have the best manners. Every few seconds he was spitting out pieces of the ice and fish we fed him. The polar bear was just awesome and massive – more than 1000 pounds. The trainers let us know that even they do not have any direct contact with them given the fact that they are “at the top of the food chain.” That said, Milk Bone dog biscuits are used for their treats.

Next stop – locker rooms. I was not at all worried about my imminent encounter with a whale. However, I was terrified of putting on a wetsuit… and with good reason. I nowknow what it must be like to be a sausage. After a quick hand-off of my camera, a group of 8 of us were taken behind “secret” doors into the Beluga Whale exhibit.

We were told the water was about 55 degrees, and then they explained how the wetsuits work. Apparently, the cold water enters the wetsuit, which is then heated up by your body temperature, effectively making the layer of water between your body and the wetsuit the only thing that is keeping you warm. I don’t get it, but it worked.

They then brought the whales over to us. The Beluga is a beautiful creature. White, graceful, huge, and surprisingly gentle. I thought they would feel rubbery – but instead they felt like the outside of a honey dew melon (not to be confused with canteloupe. Look it up!) I had so much fun! I got to feed it, kiss it, hold its fin, and tell it to jump up in the air and then press its belly like the pillsbury dough boy. It truly is an awesome animal, and although it wasn’t swimming with the dolphins, I think I appreciated this experience more. I won’t ever forget it – that’s for sure!

After the whale ordeal was over, we saw some penguins, hung out in the beautiful and new Turtle Reef, admired sharks, laughed with the sea lions, and then headed back to the hotel exhausted, sunburnt and happy.

After a hot shower and a little make-up, we were ready to continue the day’s adventure with some margaritas and tacos and then a dip in the hotel pool. All in all, it was a full, wonderful day! Who knows what is in store for me tomorrow!

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