Friday, June 5, 2015

Swimming with dolphins and celebrating four years at the pool

It's time for my yearly celebration but this year it's not all about me marking four years  since I started swimming regularly at the swimming pool, aka Cranbrook Aquatic Centre.

 I had just returned from Orlando, Florida, where I spent time in the pool daily, and my friend Michael Pelzer suggested I continue to do so back here in Cranbrook. Michael has given me lots of great advice over the years, but I thank him again so much for suggesting I swim upon my return home. I have hardly missed a day for my "noodle swim".

Enough already about me. My friends Jessica Portsmouth and Dane Ries, who are also lifeguards at the aquatic centre, recently returned from a vacation in Mexico and agreed to let me share their swim with the dolphins. --- and sharks!

Jessica  related "Swimming with the dolphins was such a wonderful experience! I would love to go back and swim with them longer! Or even have one as a pet!. Honestly it has always been my dream to swim with them! And I never thought I would get to go!"

She added:  "They are such beautiful, wonderful and smart creatures! And I enjoyed every moment I couldn't wipe the smile off my face! 

Jessica also swam with the sharks! "Well.... It's me and I freak out about most things! I was super excited to get to experience swimming with sharks, but when I got there I got a little scared! In other words I screamed a lot. My favourite was to hold was the baby, because I knew he had no teeth so I felt safer!" 

Dane picks up the story.

"Swimming with the Dolphins was an experience I will never forget it was amazing to try something new. I was in awe, and have a whole new respect for the animal. I feel as if people are naturally drawn to them, because of their smile! But then again maybe that was just me hah".

"Being a lifeguard I guess I've always been drawn to water activities, so I have always been excited for the one day I got to swim with dolphins. And the experience definitely did not let me down."

"During my travels I have also been privileged enough to go cage diving with great white sharks and during our Mexico trip Jessica and I got to swim and hold a nurse shark. Although those experiences were like no other, I would choose dolphins again in a heart beat. Mostly because the sharks almost stopped my heart, but that's a whole other story in itself!"

I plan to be at the pool on National Health and Fitness Day, June 6, and although I am admittedly not in top shape as I slowly  reach "the winter of my years", I will be there with my "noodle".

 I will take advantage of the free community swim  and manage to find a small space in the "big" pool to do my laps.Dane presents rope swing video

Dane, Mj, Zach, Jessica, Louis
In 2014. Dane led the team of exceptional lifeguards who made it possible for me to relive a childhood dream and once again do a rope swing into the pool -- although as a kid it was into the cold waters of the Chapleau River or the muddy waters of the Humber River in Toronto,

I extend my sincere thanks to Dane and Jessica and all the exceptional lifeguards who from the first day I went to the pool have looked after me, and made me feel safe and comfortable. Kudos also to the staff at the leisure services desk.

Last word goes to Dane:   "I would recommend the activity to anyone/any age. It was great to learn and interact with the animals, and it's always amazing to try/learn something new!"

Who knows Dane! I am not repeating the rope swing this year, but maybe in due course, a swim with the dolphins may be in order. 

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