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(In the last post I was uncertain if I would be here again, due to a misunderstanding between myself and the new two step authentication to improve security for my WordPress account.  It appears there is still some considerable misunderstanding on my part as to what can be accessed and when, but I’m making inroads.  I tried to disable the process, once I saw that it was so cumbersome to use, but the disabling did not work. Twice I tried it.  So we are labouring under the new regime, more secure, but less happy. Wish me luck.)

Took two of us to get me in this very tight wetsuit

Took two of us to get me in this very tight wetsuit

Since we were ‘on a break’ for a few weeks, I hope you won’t think me unfaithful for doing a few things without telling you.  I had adventure.  I pushed right out of my comfort zone and, of course, was rewarded.  The newly designated ‘Dr’ Don and I had a trip to the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia.  When we were planning the trip, I came across an ‘eco tour’ to swim with dolphins and sea lions.  The tour is based in a tiny little settlement named Baird Bay, about a 40 minute drive from Streaky Bay.  It was not a fish feeding exercise or a place with an artificial enclosure, this was swimming with snorkel and mask, with wild dolphins and sea lions.

Big grin after the first swim, there were two more, nearly broke my face!

Big grin after the first swim, there were two more, nearly broke my face!

I know you are going to remind me that I swore off ever setting foot on another boat again, after chasing invisible whales around the frigid waters and fierce winds of Vancouver, but this was different.  Firstly, the boat ride was only 30 minutes round trip, not six hours.  Secondly, well… for years I’ve wanted to swim with Dolphins.  I’m not a good swimmer, I don’t even like being in the sea, especially cold water, or having sand in all my crevices, or being in the sun, so you can see that this really was out of my comfort zone.  But I donned a wet suit, always a glamorous thing to do, and added snorkel and goggles and jumped into the cold waters of western SA to see what I could see.

Dolphins from the boat

Dolphins from the boat

cheeky sea lion

cheeky sea lion

The dolphins were lovely, but having a stand-offish day, so they were checking us out, but not coming right up to us as, apparently, they sometimes do.  The sea lions, however, were very cheeky and interactive and with those who were more adept at diving, they played and played.  They chased after shells the staff would drop into the water, they played with the lines hanging off the boat and sometimes they would just swim right up and look you in the eyes in a very inquisitive way.  One time I was paddling along, face in the water to see the sea lions, and three of them were following along so closely I could have touched them, but we were told not to.  The more experienced staff were able to engage them quite extensively, and I was just privileged to watch.

There were only five of us swimming, plus we had four guides!! (Dr Don had to sit this one out, due to an infection after surgery on a skin cancer–he’s okay now! He was my official photographer and except for a few shots that included his fingers he did very well, don’t you think?)

that's me with the floaty ring around my middle!

that’s me with the floaty ring around my middle!

the 'tinny' with a total of ten on board

the ‘tinny’ with a total of ten on board

The staff were fantastic but I’m slightly embarrassed to say that I required about 90% of the assistance!  I had technical issues with the mouth piece that just didn’t sit in my small jaw, and also the new mask that kept clouding up no matter what they tried to do.  One remedy is to spit in it, and rub the spit around and I did that numerous times. So lady-like. I mean really, when was the last time you spent time looking through your own saliva?? And it didn’t help that I had only used a snorkel one other time in my life, over 30 years ago.  But as I said to Don, I hadn’t flown 1500k to Adelaide then driven 9 hours to get there, only to sit in the boat!!  And honestly, that is the main message here.  The dolphins and sea lions were great, but the icing on the cake was pushing myself beyond my usual comfort zone.  I read recently it is a good thing to do, so let’s get out there and mix it up a bit in 2014.  Happy New Year.

twin sea lions in the water, yes they swam with us!

twin sea lions in the water, yes they swam with us!