Dolphins in Honduras a Trip


ROATAN, Honduras — In anticipation of my upcoming "Dolphin Encounter" I wasn't sure who would be more scared, me or the dolphin. Since only one of us swims, it was logical that my fear factor would far exceed that of Mika, the 12-year-old mammal zipping around contained waters at Anthony's Key, on this popular Honduran island in the Caribbean.

This was a shore excursion from the Crown Princess, and I was looking forward to it just like I looked forward to the small-aircraft journey to a glacier on Alaska's Mount McKinley — my fear of heights is exceeded only by my fear of water.

Obviously, I lived to tell about both.

Mika and I both had company in the water. She had her trainer, Edgardo Farach, and her daughter, 18-month-old Polly. I had…where did he go, anyway?

Once I became accustomed to Mika's tail touching my legs, I was more or less able to relax. I did say more or less, right?

Even though she's a female, Mika and I don't have a lot in common. She consumes 40 pounds of food a day, or a little more than some people on cruise ships. She weighs 400 pounds. Please!

She likes to have her face in the water, makes noises through a hole on the top of her head and eats raw fish. None of those things apply to me. She's 12 years old, already has three kids and is nursing Polly while pregnant with child number three. Not so much.

Besides, Mika really puts on a show.

Those of you who have been on dolphin encounters probably already know what I learned this week. Training her and the other dolphins who perform takes two years — although I did forget to ask Edgardo why that didn't apply to 18-month-old Polly, who was doing tricks 50 feet away from her mother. Fast learner, I guess.

Dolphins live longer in captivity, where they're pampered, and for females "longer" can mean as much as 48 years. Well, at least I have her beaten in that department.

I also learned that by the time her latest child arrives, she'll have been pregnant for a year and for all but the last four months of it will continue to hunt stray fish, race through the water at speeds up to 25 miles an hour and "walk" on her tail with Polly by her side.

Mika and I do have one thing in common. They say if she was released into the wilds, she would probably die of starvation.

Me, too, Mika.

After 45 minutes in the water with her, I became quite fond of Mika. I miss having her around, though not as much as Princess Cruises and Edgardo are going to miss her when Mika's on maternity leave, because cruise ship passengers spend $135 to get to knew the dolphins at Anthony's Key.

On the other hand, Mika's just adding to a future pool of performers.

Royal Caribbean Vision of the Seas
7 nights
May 18, 2013
Copenhagen (return): Alesund, Geiranger, Fiam, Bergen
Inside: $649
Cost per day: $92

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