CORAL WORLD: Sea Trek and Kayaking with dolphins
We had decided to go to Coral World today.
I spent awhile trying to figure out how to coordinate and book several different "experiences" there. We knew we wanted to do the SeaTrek there (we had so much fun in Aruba and I wanted Kendra to experience it too. I thought maybe she'd do better at that then scuba since she struggles with it. Kendra had also mentioned wanting to try snuba. I let her know that it's kinda the same as scuba except you just don't have the tank on your back. Sakari was interested in that as well. Then we wanted to do the dolphin kayaking because Kendra wanted to make sure that Kam got to do something exciting too.
Trying to coordinate all these times was getting tricky. I also didn't understand a section on their website that said "activity add on ($30)". I thought maybe if you booked an activity and wanted to do another, you could add it on for only $30. I mean what else could that be and it was on the check out page. However, it wouldn't let me pick an activity.
I really didn't want to book the activities without knowing if this $30 was for a second activity. I wanted to save the money, especially with such a large group.
That meant I'd have to wait until 10am, when they opened, to ask the question. Once they opened, their reply to me was they didn't know what that was and they didn't give a discount for doing multiple activities. They said they had never seen that on the website. Weird!
We ended up booking the Sea Trek to start off with and then also booked the dolphin kayaking. The dolphins only had 1 timeslot for us to go each day...maybe because of the swims and shows.
Now Coral World is right down the street from Sapphire and takes no time to get there. Once you turn off the main road and head down into a neighborhood, the driveability gets worse because so many cars are parked along the sides, on the road, next to the water, in no parking zones...up and down the hill. It's just ridiculous! Thank goodness Coral World has their own parking next door (as long as you get there at a decent hour).
Upon entry, we told them about our booking. They gave us receipts for each event and said we would need to hand those to the people in the areas that we were doing activities. I thought this was a little weird that I had to hang on to a rolled up receipt. I was really hoping that I didn't lose it. We had to fill out waiver forms and then were told where to go for our SeaTrek adventure.
Walking in, I remember this area...it was where we did our first scuba with all of us together. This is where they held the classes at. Ahhh, sweet moment!
We headed to the big dome. Anyone who has ever been to St Thomas should know about this dome and Coral World.
Along the way, we could see different animal areas and I loved the set up there.
At the counter we handed the lady our paid
receipts. We were told to head around the
round building to the area that said SeaTrek
on it and wait for the instructor. We didn't wait long before our instructor arrived and gave us a little "class" about the helmets and how things were going to work along with the hand signals (just like when diving). He told us to keep our feet planted on the ground at all times.
I did tell him about my foot/leg and they said we'd take it nice and slow and I should do alright. I knew I'd be fine because I had done it before, however...they did tell me that getting in and out of the water is using a ladder. This really worried me. I had the hubby install steps for me to get in and out of our pool because I couldn't do the ladder. But, I'm a trooper and I wasn't about to miss out on this!
We were told to leave our things in a trunk and it would be locked up. They did not mention me having my camera on my wrist. So everything went in the trunk but it. You were also required to wear crocs during the walk (they provided) or if you had water shoes you could wear those. I have them, but they were back at the condo. Oops.
We all headed down on the deck. He decided that Kendra would be the first to go in. Then Brayden went. Then Sakari. Then it was my turn. Then he said those dreaded words. No camera's allowed!!! This really sucks! They said they would have someone with them to take pictures and we could buy them...which I don't have a problem with. BUT, I can guarantee that whoever is taking the pictures would NEVER take the same one's that I would be getting if I could take my camera. I turned around and handed my camera to Billy and told him YOU BETTER TAKE A LOT OF PICTURES!!! He said he would and I knew to him this meant maybe 10. Him and Kam headed down to the observatory armed with my camera.
So now I have to navigate this ladder. I slowly started stepping down. You get to the water line with your face and they put the heavy helmet on. I hung on for dear life and really hoped that I didn't slip or anything. We were immediately greeted by HUGE Tarpon (they can reach up to 8' long and live 30-50 years!!) and Horse-Eye Jacks (which is a schooling fish and reaches up to 3.5 feet and weigh up to 25 pounds!!). These fish were big and there were a lot of them. They looked kind of intimidating as they stare at you. I was so relieved once I hit the sea floor. You are down about 20'. Next was the hubby.
The kids were already having fun and bouncing around. I gave the mom/mamaw glare to stop. We were told to keep our feet planted on the ground.
Then off we went...holding onto the bar and watching all the fish swim right next to us.
Billy and Kam were at the windows watching us and taking pictures. We waved (well most of us...someone...ahem the hubs...gave Billy a bird even though we were under water and there were no birds there).
Then we turned around and headed out.
Of course at that point, Billys job was done...or so he thought. He handed off the camera to Kam and she would be my photographer for the rest of the journey. I have to say, for 6 years old, she really didn't do a bad job at all. You have to remember all of these pictures are taken through really thick windows and I made the mistake of not knowing that even though they weren't "under water" with us...they really were and I should have put the camera on the underwater setting. That would have helped out a lot. I didn't discover this until I personally went in the dome to take pictures.
While we were out and away from the dome, Kam took pictures as if she was me. Snap, Snap, Snap (repeating just like her actually). She took a lot of photos. I'm only showing a select few.