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.
Along the way there was a scuba diver with us. He was armed with a GoPro, which he was using for our pictures. He would swim by and take pictures (which I would later find out it was a video most of the time) and also he would find "creatures" for us to hold. We held two brittle starfishes (which we had one of these in our saltwater tank) and also a Arrow Crab which are the weirdest crabs ever. The only other time we have ever seen one and held it was scuba diving at Coki next door.
So while B was trying to hold the brittle star, it kept trying to get away (from all of us actually) and it landed on his shirt and started crawling up into his helmet. It was funny. The diver quickly got it out before it went all the way up.
When he passed around the arrow crab, B only held it for a minute and gave it back. They tried to hand it back to him but he had this look on his face and kept shaking his head no. Maybe the blue claws scared him?
We continued to walk around in a square shape holding onto the railing. The kids were jumping up and down and making their legs bend up and come back down in slow motion. Then they would stop and do one of their many fornite dances. Then they have a special "hand shake clap" and they were doing that. They were pretty hilarious and having a good time...but they were NOT keeping their feet planted on the ground.
I seen the instructor come up to them. Oh no, they are about to get kicked out of the ocean or scolded. But instead....he took their hand (one by one) and told them to jump!!! So B jumped and went up about a foot or so and slowly came down. Then it was Sakari's turn. She jumped and went up a little higher than B did. The smiles on their faces were priceless. Then he took my hand..... wait, what? I was going to do this too? Well, I would give it a try. I crouched down with one leg up in front of me like I was the karate kid, then gave it my all with my good leg and up I went and went and went and before long my feet were almost above everyone's head! I flew up! I couldn't believe it. The kids were laughing uncontrollable. I floated back down to the ground. It was a neat experience.
Here is a video that the scuba diver/photographer took of us. I was so excited to get home and see my pictures and videos only to find out that he only took 11 pictures (2 of which were fish) and 7 video's (2 of which were fish). And most importantly ...HE DIDN'T EVEN CATCH MY JUMP!!!! (or any of the others). He was watching...I seen him. Why didn't he have the camera on? That was the highlight of the excursion.
Since the hubby and I were at the end of the line and the instructor at the front, we really couldn't tell what was going on. We would notice at various times that we would all crouch down and look under the rail. I had absolutely no idea why but we'd do what everyone else was doing. I thought maybe he was showing them something but us crouching down back where we were would do absolutely no good. LOL But, we still followed the leader. (After we got out, I asked Kendra why we were doing that and was he showing her something and she was like "I have no idea why he was having us do that" and thought it was strange. LOL Maybe him and the diver had a bet going on to see how many people he could get to do that out of every group. Who knows.
So once we were getting back into Kam's little port hole and she could see us, she started taking more pictures and waving at us.