Located across the street from the Grand Lucayan Resort on Grand Bahama Island is the Port Lucaya Marina, home to UNEXSO, the Underwater Explorers Society. UNEXSO is a full service dive shop and marine experience company, the highlight of which is their famous dolphin encounter.
We boarded the boat along with several other dolphin enthusiasts and were immediately greeted by an affable boat hand who was our guide for the afternoon. I never knew a short twenty minute boat ride could be so entertaining, but he did his best to get everyone excited about visiting the world famous Dolphin Sanctuary.
The Dolphin Sanctuary is one of the few dolphin facilities in the world that saves dolphins and has them roam not just in their enclosed lagoon, but in the open ocean as well. The personnel at the Sanctuary are true professionals and their enthusiasm for research and understanding the dolphin is palpable. Sure their dolphins have been in movies, but more importantly scores of scientists have had the opportunity to learn more about these mighty sea mammals through research grants involving the Sanctuary.
It’s hard waiting patiently knowing that in just a few minutes you’re about to experience something completely unique and amazing. After a thorough briefing, it was finally time for the main event and we wandered down to the docks and took our position around the pool. Before we knew it, there were four dolphins swimming around the tank splashing us in a light-hearted way that only a dolphin can manage.
Over the next 45 minutes, we learned a lot about dolphins, their conservation and what makes them so unique. But the main event was the dolphin experience itself. I climbed into the pool and took my position alongside Coral, one of the 14 dolphins at the facility. For about five minutes I pet her along her back and underbelly and even had a dolphin kiss. The kiss is for the benefit of the take-away photo, but it’s an amazing experience nonetheless.
I’ve had a lot of wildlife encounters and even a dolphin experience, but the afternoon spent at the Dolphin Sanctuary was one of the best I’ve ever enjoyed. Following is a brief video showcasing just how amazing these creatures really are.