Dolphin Discovery: A wish came true!
This is one of the few rare posts which got me stuck in the first paragraph for DAYS. I had received an invitation call some time back to visit RWS Dolphin Island at Resort World Sentosa Adventure Cove Waterpark, and I said yes to the invitation immediately without hesitation. Dolphins always had a special place in my heart, thus I didn’t want this article to be a normal review.
I wanted to share the reasons why I love dolphins, but I had difficulty penning down the reasons and what made me love dolphins. I know dolphins are cute, but it was the affinity and the happiness I felt when I see dolphins that I wish to share. The feeling was indescribable. After typing and deleting my paragraphs for more than 10 times over the past few days, I finally settled with this quote:
“Love needs no reason. It just is. – Lady Eleanor Raven” ― Catherine March, The King’s Champion
I don’t know when I started loving dolphins, perhaps it was from 2003 after watching At Dolphin Bay (海豚湾恋人) where the drama mentioned how dolphins are guardian of love who help reunite a pair of lovers.
To me, dolphins represents freedom, love and compassion (I guess I got it from the news reports about how dolphins help save human?). Dolphins often appear in pairs, and according to researches, these “pair bonds” appear to be long term relationships for male (which may last the rest of their lives). I guess this was one of the reasons why I love them so much, because they are loyal (Yes, I’m a hopeless romantic at heart).
My RWS Dolphin Island starts here…
So here I am, at the Resort World Sentosa Adventure Cove Waterpark. The Dolphin Island is within the Adventure Cove Waterpark and there are various types of dolphin interaction programmes available. The one I took part in, together with Karen aka Renzze, was the most popular programme: Dolphin Discovery.
^Exclusively reserved for guests with friends or family participating in Dolphin Discovery, Dolphin Adventure and Dolphin Trek.
Dolphin Island interaction programmes include:
▸ One-day pass to Adventure Cove Waterpark
▸ One set meal at The Bay Restaurant
▸ Complimentary use of Dolphin Island lockers, towels, wet-suits and flotation devices (During the interaction programme only)
Tips: Do go in a swimwear AND bring changing clothes. Although a wet suit is provided during the activity, we are not allowed to wear the suit out of the area. Any loose items (earrings, bangles, rings) will be asked to be kept in a locker outside the Dolphin Island, including mobile phones and cameras are not allowed too (regardless of the program you signed up for). So, I was REALLY lucky to be able to experience the programme as a media.
Here’s Karen (renzze) and me, together with our Marine Mammal trainer! He is super…. tall!
The programme that we are participating in is called Dolphin Discovery. It is a 30 minute programme which allows guests (above 122cm), including non-swimmers, to touch the dolphins and wade in a shallow pool.
DO YOU KNOW?
There are 11 inter-connected lagoons inside Dolphin Island and one of the lagoons has a glass panel where visitors to the SEA Aquarium gets to view the dolphins.
Meet WAWA: Dolphin of the Day!
The entire activity takes about 90 minutes including orientation and briefing. And Wawa was the Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin attached to us for that day. The trainer gave us an introduction on the anatomy of the dolphin with the help of Wawa. Yes, he basically come to us and let us touch him, open his mouth to show us the number of teeth he has, and let us gave him a rub down, feeling how smooth and leathery his skin is.
The interactive hands-on session with Wawa was really a discovery session for me (Duh, that’s why it’s called Dolphin Discovery!). I learnt little details about my favourite animal, such as identifying the gender, understanding how each dolphin’s fin has unique patterns which allow trainers to identify them.
There are actually many rules that we have to abide to in Dolphin Island. Besides our accessories etc, the way we “behave” in the pool matters too. We are advised to put our hands by our side, behind us or in front of us (like the above image) so that Wawa will not be confused with the instructions. If you don’t get it, imagine a very excited me doing little jiggles and waving to the dolphins while the trainer tries to get Wawa to do something. Who should he look at?
Well, I definitely DID NOT try the jiggle, but Wawa seems attracted to me! Haha~ Well, look at me, I can’t wait to make friends with him!
Dolphins have very good eyesight both in and out of the water, and they can hear frequencies ten times or more above the upper limit of adult human hearing. Dolphins hear underwater using echolocation (like how bats detect obstacles). They do have ear on each side of their head, but they are so small that it looked like slits.
Each dolphin have their own fish bin in Dolphin Island, and their diet consist of frozen fishes, squids and crustaceans. There is a laboratory to check on these dolphins daily, making sure they have their daily vitamins and food (plus not overeat). Instead of chomping and munching the fishes, dolphins swallow them whole instead! Their teeth are more for grabbing and holding their prey.
Interacting with Wawa with little actions. We learnt the little actions and hand signals that will get the dolphins doing certain stunts.
Here’s one where we play splash with Wawa. I felt like I was playing with a adult size child (Think Hagrid’s brother, Grawp). Wawa is playful and easy to please. A simple rub-down, a little treat, I could see him “squealing” (that’s how he sound like) and wriggling with happiness!
Dancing with Wawa
Do you know that if you point to the sky and twirl around, Wawa will start dancing and twirling with you. It takes A LOT of passion and patience to train a dolphin. One trick may take more than a year, depending on the dolphin and the trainer.
Wawa, the dolphin’s classic pose
Here’s two classic pose which you can take with the dolphins at RWS Dolphin Island. There will be official photographers to take photos for you, and you may purchase them at the Adventure Cove Waterpark- Reef N Wave Wear after the programme.
The price of the photos are as follows:
1 (6 X 8 photo) —- S$ 25
1 (8 x 10 photo)—- S$ 35
Photo Package (inclusive of soft copy photos in a CD and printed photos [not applicable for Dolphin CD package])
1 DOLPHIN CD (up to 50 images) — S$ 125
1 DELUXE CD (up to 75 images) + 1 (8 x 10) photo and 2 (6 x 8) photos — S$ 150
1 DELUXE CD (up to 75 images) + 2 (8 x 10) photos and 1 (6 x 8) photo — S$ 175
Worth The Money?
Some friends asked me if it is worth the money as the programme fees are quite costly. I felt that if you are an animal lover (or dolphin lover), this experience is definitely unforgettable. However, I felt that I could stay in Dolphin Island the WHOLE DAY, the half an hour interaction was like a movie cut short for me.
*Note to Self: I MUST try out “Trainer for a Day” programme in near future!
Getting to Dolphin Island
As there are limited programmes daily, DO call and reserve your programme to avoid disappointment.
Enquiries: +65 6577 8888, firstname.lastname@example.org
More information: check out the RWS Marine Life Park, Adventure Cove Waterpark, Dolphin Island website
Adventure Cove Waterpark is located on Sentosa Island, guests visiting Adventure Cove Waterpark can get to Sentosa via several ways:
Guests can opt for a leisurely 10 minutes stroll into Sentosa via the Sentosa Boardwalk. Admission into the island is $1 per entry by this mode of entry. After passing through the gantries, look out for signs pinpointing S.E.A. Aquarium’s location.
RWS 8 is a public bus service which will bring guests directly into Resorts World for a $3 fee (Guests need not pay for the island admission if they are entering Sentosa via RWS 8). The disembarkation point would be outside the RWS Casino. There are two boarding locations for the bus (outside of Vivo City, and Merill Lynch Building).
By Sentosa Express
Sentosa Express is located on Level 3 of Vivo City. Guests are required to pay $4 for this mode of admission. The Sentosa Express Tickets can be bought at the Sentosa counters located right outside the Sentosa Express gantries or just tap your EZ-link card to get in.
If you enter via RWS B1 car park, only car park charges apply.
If you enter via Sentosa gantry, Sentosa Island admission and car park charges apply.