When tourists head to Key West and the Florida Keys, the warm waters that surround island are a large part of the attraction – and the amazing wild life, both on Duval Street and in the ocean. Turtles, colorful tropical fish, stone crabs and spiny lobster make these warm waters their home, but the most popular “fish in the sea” isn’t a fish at all; it’s the Atlantic bottlenose dolphin.
These playful creatures are thought to be the most intelligent creatures other than humans, and some think they are even smarter. Whatever it is about these delightful marine mammals, many visitors to Key West have dreamt of swimming with dolphin – and it’s a dream that can come true in this island chain.
Swimming with dolphin in the wild is – well, prohibited by the Marine Mammal Protection act, but the Keys offer several facilities where you can swim with captive dolphins that have been trained to make your dream come true. Dolphin Cove in Key Largo, Islamorada’s Theater of the Sea, the Dolphin Research Center on Grassy Key and the Duck Key resort all offer swim with dolphin programs.
But if it’s a wild dolphin adventure you seek, you might want to charter a private tour with the woman AAA dubbed “the Dolphin Whisperer, ” Captain Victoria Impallomeni. A Key West native, who has had her own boat since she was a young girl, is arguably the most knowledgeable wilderness guide you will find on the waters of Key West. Watching dolphins is only a part of the wildlife you will experience aboard a private charter with Captain
Turtles are not uncommon – tropical fish of all sorts – crabs and rays – and all sorts of birds – from the Magnificent Frigates, Brown and White Pelicans, osprey and even bald eagles. You may also visit remote islands with deserted sandy beaches, and private coves for picnics and relaxing. Of course, you will see dolphins, too! That’s always the first order of business. And you will learn to snorkel and perhaps ride one of the swim boards that allow you to dive and surface as a dolphin does – feeling the same rush of the water over your skin that a dolphin must experience.
Captain Victoria follows the “Dolphin Smart” program that NOAA advises.
The program seeks to minimize harassment of wild dolphin and lower expectations of close interaction with wild dolphins- in other words, you must understand that while you will see many dolphin and get to experience how they behave in the wild, you will not expect to swim with the dolphin. In return you may just feel a connection that you can’t get in a captive dolphinarium.
All of Captain Victoria’s charters are private and are tailored to suit the wishes of the customer. She carefully listens to what her guests are interested in and steers her vessel in that direction.
She also offers a series of http://www.captainvictoria.com/special-private-charters.htm private charters that can be completely customized, of course.
- Wild Encounter: A Dolphin Day for a Human
- Commitment Ceremony for Couples
- Celebration of Life Memorial Service
- Retreat Yoga on the Islands Day Retreat
- Sacred Healing Sounds Day
- Dolphin and Crystal Day Retreat
- Watsu (water shiatsu massage) Day Retreat
Come visit Key West and explore “God’s Jungle Gym” meet the birds, fish,and other wildlife as well as watching the dolphin at play in their natural habitat. You will come away with memories to cherish for a lifetime and a better understanding of how humans impact these precious creatures.