The bulk of the final instalment is a pictorial walk through our maiden interaction with the dolphins (just one in particular) at Sentosa. I will keep the text in this post short and sweet but if you're interested to read about my mixed feelings on dolphins in captivity and the RWS dolphin controversy, those chunks of paragraphs in between are the ones to look out for. =)
In you're interested in my previous instalments, click on the following links:
Staycation at the Tree Top Lofts Part 1 - Virtual Tour
Staycation at the Tree Top Lofts Part 2 - Anniversary Dinner at Forest 森
~*Dolphin Discover Programme*~
As mentioned in this post, our 2D1N package for the Tree Top Lofts included 2 Adventure Cove Waterpark day passes and 2 adult tickets to Dolphin Discovery. I've read compelling stories about the way marine animals are treated in some water parks around the world. As for Singapore, Sentosa RWS is the first organization to bring dolphins into our country. Surrounding the controversy of the six dolphins which died during the process of being brought here and also the death of one dolphin during its stay at Dolphin Island a few months back, animal activists have since termed Sentosa RWS's dolphins as the "world's saddest dolphins". =(
Prior to the programme, I had mixed feelings about our dolphin interaction. I wondered if I was in any way increasing the demand for dolphins in captivity and also perpetuating the cruelty to them by going for such dolphin interaction programmes. Many people believe that animals thrive in the wild and should not be trained for human entertainment. Other than the cruelty in confining these free-spirited animals, many believe that keeping dolphins in captivity is exploitative.
Before going for our individual dolphin interaction, it was compulsory for the group of 10 to 15 of us to watch an informative video on what to and what not to do during the dolphin interaction. The bubbly trainers also reiterated the dos and don'ts in language simple enough for the kids to understand. I could tell how much they cared for their dolphins. After the video, everyone broke into groups of couples and families with a dolphin trainer and a dolphin assigned to each group. Our dolphin is a male called Sheng Guo; I asked if he was from China and why the Chinese name. Needless to say, my instiable curiosity and candid questions are often the bane to my husband. He felt that these were bimbotic questions. -_-|||
Sheng Guo was such a friendly and playful dolphin. BTW, he is the largest dolphin the group.
We were shown by the trainer how to properly treat the dolphin with care and respect, how and where were fine to touch and stroke.
Sheng Guo performed every single task he was told to do readily and happily.
He even listened to our commands. Of course it was really the trainer giving some hand signals.
It was fun to see the blow hole opening and closing at whim.
Our trainer told us that the air ejected from the blow hole could be so forceful, it might cause pain.
We tried putting our cheek there and true enough, the small sprays of water and air pierced my delicate cheek like smithereens of microscopic glass.
Inspecting the mouth and teeth at close range, we learnt lots of facts about dolphins that we never knew. Since I taught Science at primary level for a few years, there were lots of facts about dolphins that I already knew so I was glad to take home new knowledge from this programme.
We even saw how the fish and jelly slid into Sheng Guo's throat. So cute!
Only trainers were allowed to massage the dolphin's tongue while I looked on longingly.
It was time to dance with Sheng Guo. He was such a gentle little boy.
Kh said it was weird for a boy to dance with a boy.
Even weirder for a boy to kiss a boy. Look at his weird expression.
Kh wanted to look like he was not kissing but kissing Sheng Guo because that's gay.
I, on the other hand, was so eager to be kissed by a dolphin.
And to kiss him back. Muax!
It took a while for the trainer to get Sheng Guo into this position and to hold it there for the photo-taking.
Sheng Guo was really obedient. I heard that there were some dolphins who would simply swim away when they didn't feel like doing certain acts. The fact that they would not be forced to do so if they continued to refuse after coaxing them made me feel that the dolphins here were indeed treated with respect.
Sheng Guo opened his mouth at the trainer's hand command.
I was so afraid of hurting Sheng Guo while he was holding his pose. You know? Like aching muscles or something.
After that, we splashed water at each other. My my, Sheng Guo could splash. I could almost see a twinkle in his cheeky eyes. There were couple of shots of the water being splashed more wildly but we had weird expressions in those.
Sheng Guo twirled and danced with us too.
Next it was time to play "Fetch". Kh tossed the rugby ball for Sheng Guo to retrieve.
I chose the frisbee. It was thrilling to receive our thrown items with a dolphin's beak.
A round of applause to encourage Sheng Guo.
A final massage and tickle for Sheng Guo. The trainer even turned Sheng Guo around to let us rub his belly. After which, we pat him and waved goodbye. Sheng Guo waved his flippers back at us and swam back to his enclosure.
Throughout the whole Dolphin Discovery experience, I felt that the trainers were doing their very best to treat the dolphins well and to also impart these acts and values to their visitors. However as I've mentioned earlier on, me being me, I simply had to fire all the burning questions in my mind to the trainer. As we walked out of the dolphin pool, we had a short discourse on the whole RWS controversy and keeping dolphins in captivity in general. The trainer recommended some YouTube documentaries for better understanding. I won't be revealing much here but I must say that the trainer gave a very balanced answer and satisfied my curiosity. Without my first-hand experience here, I would actually still be sitting on the fence about the RWS controversy. I wish that those activists could also understand how dolphins are very sociable and really love interacting with humans. The dolphins here arrived shaken initially like how all living things would but have very soon settled down and enjoyed the human interaction. I came across this blog post on RWS Dolphin Discovery written by a really cool Singaporean dad with 3 lovely kids. For those who are still half the mind about animal rights and cruelty to the dolphins, you should head over there now.
~*Exploring the Rest of Adventure Cove*~
Adventure Cove Waterpark was not exactly that big and did not actually have much food choices for hungry hamsters like us.
To fill our cow bellies before the Dolphin Discovery, we had a hot dog bun and mashed potato from a stall shaped like a hot dog bun.
This was heavenly for our growling tummies.
For lunch, we used our free coupons to redeem for chicken and pasta, coke and apple juice. I could cook better than this but we were hungry.
A childhood lime with vanilla cream ice lolly which I loved a lot back then.
By the time we finished our Dolphin Discovery session, the water theme park would close in an hour's time. I used to be thrilled by all these water rides and slides but somehow there wasn't any urge to play that day.
We simply wasted our free tickets.
Fake stalagmite added on to the adventure feel?
The hubz and I felt that these reminded us of some alien beings.
Interaction with the rays.
~*Relaxing Bath with ESPA*~
So the 2D1N was really too short but I simply had to squeeze time in for a relaxing bath just to make sure we made full use of the facilities.
All the bath products in theTree Top Loft bathroom are from ESPA.
It is nice to know that I''m using products against animal testing.
While soaking in the bath tub, I savoured on one of my favourite Indian snack -- Muruki.
I once took a legs in bath tub shot once in Maldives shot and I'm horrified to see the difference in skin tone. I very much prefer my legs to be tanned.
Outfit of the day:
♥ FleurFaerie Layered Stripe Dress in Mocha worn as a top
♥ Cotton On denim shorts
♥ COACH Park Signature Swingpack in gold
♥ Mimosa studded floral slippers
Outfit of the day:
♥ TEZENiS Italy striped bikini
♥ Cotton On denim shorts
I'm typing this post with half my eyes closed and nodding off to sleep. Proofreading and phases of edits would come after everyone has spotted my grammatical error, spelling error and weird sentence expression. It is close to 5am now and if you are in Singapore and countries that celebrate, Selamat Hari Raya! Enjoy the last day of the long weekend.