Sunday, February 18, 2018

We Took a Wild Dolphin Cruise in Tampa Bay!


On our recent visit to the Florida Aquarium in Tampa Bay, Florida, we opted to take the Wild Dolphin Cruise. While some of us had seen dolphins in their natural water homes, I never had. It was not guaranteed that we would come across them, but it was common to see them along this route, so away we went, with our fingers crossed and a flutter of hope in our heart.




As our 72-foot, powered catamaran pulled away from the dock, I sat in awe at the sheer size of one of the ships we were nestled between prior to moving. I'm not sure how tall the Norwegian Dawn was, but it was pretty formidable in size, to say the least. That was one of several cruise ships docked in the area at the time, which of course stirred up my travel fever. ;)


On the way out to the open water we passed a lot of interesting looking vessels, and got the history behind some of the scenery we were passing.


Thunderstorms were on the forecast so we actually switched from a later time to an earlier one, because I really wanted to do this part our our aquarium visit. I always find the water scene to be so calming, whether it is just looking at ships (seeing Clippers is still on my bucket list), wildlife, or just the sky against the ocean. To see it on this catamaran, going out so much further than we could see with the naked eye from shore, was a really a nice way to spend a portion of our day.


The cruise lasts an hour and 15 minutes. Be sure to bring a jacket, even if it's hot outside, just in case you get chilly on the boat.


On the flip side, if it's hot out (it wasn't when we went,, in fact the temperature was perfect!), the first floor is air conditioned. You'll also find two restrooms. If you're thirsty or want a snack, they are selling those things in this room too. We went in here just to hang out for a few minutes. I immediately missed being outside. I can see how this would be useful though, if the weather turned bad or the temperatures were one extreme or another on the other parts of the boats exposed to the elements.


Look! My first sighting!! A 10-year-old boy who swims like a fish. ;)


Through this speaker on the 1st floor, or in person on the upper deck, a commentator was telling us about all of the things we were passing as our boat ride continued.


As the shore kept getting further and further away, the anticipation around me grew. Everyone was looking carefully to try and spot dolphins in the wild. :) Still nothing at the half way point, but that was okay, I wasn't worried.


This pelican wasn't worried either. Nor was he a bit phased by people being in his water. We were all pretty happy to see him though. :)


And then we spotted the dolphins. If you look carefully you can see a fin in the right-ish upper corner of my photo. That was a mom and her calf. The Florida Aquarium is an active participant in the SMART program, and adheres to all state and federal protection laws. That meant we kept a safe distance. I had my camera on the largest zoom to try and get photos, but this was the only one I got that you could identify (if you look ever so carefully, lol). Everyone on the trip was so excited to watch them playing. I lived in Florida for 18 years before moving up north for a stretch, and have been back two years and have still never seen them in the wild, so for me it was extra exciting. A mom with her baby? Even more deeeeelightful.


After the sighting, we headed back towards the shore. We passed the same boats we saw leaving, and some new ones that had come in. We also got a better look at another cruise ship. It wasn't as big as the other Norwegian Dawn (seen in the first two pictures of this post) but it was still a beauty. :)


This wall here was a casualty of war, and you can hear about some of that history on the catamaran tour.


Probably the most impressive notation on the ride regarding war times though, at least for me, was the fact that this ship, The American Victory, is dry docked at the shore. It is only one of four WWII merchant steam ships left in the United States.


I was mesmerized by this ship. She didn't have a bad angle. She was almost as tall as the aquarium itself, which you can see standing behind it in the background. They do give tours of this ship, (completely separate from, and not a part of the museum).What a wonderful piece of history, right before our eyes. When we return to Tampa, this is on our agenda list. I do want to see it up close and personal.


The rain started as we got off of our Wild Dolphin Cruise, so it was a good thing we asked to change to an earlier time. We got a late lunch, inside of The Florida Aquarium, and then we headed out so the big kids could get ready for their concert later that evening. The whole visit was so good! The Extra Experience of the Wild Dolphin Cruise was definitely a huge highlight. If you get a chance to take the cruise, I recommend it. With approximately 500 dolphins in the bay, chances are high you're going to come across one or a few on your trip. :)  Learn more by visiting the website. You can learn more about our aquarium trip by visiting my review here.

24 comments:

  1. My favorite thing to do is be on a boat. I would have loved to join you. Fun.

    Have a fabulous day, my friend. ♥

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    1. Would have loved your company!! This was a nice day. :)

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  2. Very Interesting Post - I wish I could take my grand kids on this Dolphin Cruise

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  3. I love dolphins! This would be right up our alley as a family trip thank you for the details!

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  4. That is great that after so long you got to see some indeed. Would be fun to give a go. Had to laugh at your first sighting as he peeks on out lol

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  5. We had plans to go on a cruise but they were interrupted. I think this will be the one!

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  6. I am so glad you got to spot a dolphin and her baby out in the water. It is so exciting to see them in their natural habitat!

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  7. Wow... what great fun this seems to be... I have never been on a cruise... but I am going to face my fears and go on one this year to celebrate me obtaining my MA... I am so excited and I truly love the pictures!!!

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  8. I wish to experience this one day. Its a lot of fun and for sure its a good memory to treasure a lifetime.

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  9. This looks like so much fun Rosey! I'd love to see dolphins swim.

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  10. OK now this is a cruise I would love to take. I have always loved dolphins and seeing them in their natural habitat must be wonderful. Just them going about their dolphin days!

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  11. We live in Panama City, so we have very similar attractions. The dolphin cruise is always nice.

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  12. I would love so much to do something like this....what a bad thing that I get water sick....

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  13. I have been wanting to do one of these! We are in Central FL and go to Tampa often. These look like so much fun, and I am sure my daughter would flip because she loves dolphins!

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  14. What a blast! We just love dolphins so this would be so much fun. I"ll keep this in mind if we're ever in this area.

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  15. How fun!! I love dolphins! We went swimming with them in the Bahamas. Such an amazing experience! Thank you for sharing!

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  16. Looks like an amazing cruise! Glad you had fun :) xo, Suzanne

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  17. I would love to go to Florida !! We went on a dolphin cruise in Tenerife before and it was absolutely breath taking !

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  18. This looks like an amazing trip, and what a fun experience. I have see a few dolphins up close through my travels and it is always amazing to me! So glad you had fun and thank you for sharing your experience and recommendations.

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  19. Sounds like so much fun. I can't believe I haven't done this yet. We are so close to this area in Florida.

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  20. I love love love dolphins. We took one such tour in florida and it was so worth! Looks like you had a great time watching dolphins too!

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  21. I am terrified of boats but I love dolphins. This looks like it was such a great experience.

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  22. Thats cute didnt know wild doplphin cruises existed. Sounds like fun for the fam!

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  23. That is so awesome that you did see some. I bet it was an amazing adventure!

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