July 2014... Taking Grandma Buttons to the airport to start her long journey back home, we went snorkeling with whale sharks. Yeah, you know. Just a quick little stop-off on the way to the airport. Poor Maeve was bummed to, once again, miss the age cut-off for excursions such as this. Haha... poor kiddo... she was too young to paraglide back in Bulgaria, too young for the whale-watching outing we went on a couple of years ago (which was a bust anyway!), and alas... too young for this! She just wants to be out doing what the "big" kids are! Luckily she had fun with her friend. We kinda glossed over what we'd be doing while she had her very own playdate...
Nuala, in front of a board explaining what we're about to encounter. The twins were so excited. So was Grandma!
Everyone was kinda disappointed that there was a big net keeping the whale sharks IN their space, and us OUT of their space. Which makes sense, if we had really thought about it. The twins (and Grandma! pictured above) were pretty annoyed at having to wear life jackets, too. They so badly wanted to be able to dive down to the net and pet the whale sharks. Truth be told, Z and I wished we didn't have them on as well, but again, probably a good idea, out in the East China Sea, with a net that maybe you'd get tangled in, etc., right below you. I DEFinitely wanted them on our 7-year olds! But still. I understood their frustration... they're good little swimmers, and love to dive down to check things out while snorkeling. Soooo close, yet so far.
The guides had scuba gear on, and went into the enclosure to dump fish out at the top of the net so the whale sharks would swim up near us.
Here's Nuala trying so valiantly to pull herself down! There were a couple of places where the net was pretty close to the surface, and Bran got to pet one of the whale sharks as it came up for fish. That almost made up for the indignity of having to wear a life jacket... ;) Nuala was jealous. We all were.
This one looks kinda smiley.
And a re-creation of Nuala and Bran getting into the water. We were getting ready to head back in, and I asked if they could just flip in again, because OBviously I have to document it! They took their fins off.
At this point, Grandma and I were starting to feel seasick. Awesome. We barely survived the boat ride back in, but luckily there was no actual puking! It was fun overall, but maybe a tad pricey for what we actually got to do. And we felt badly for the whale sharks, but less badly after finding out that they're ones that accidentally get caught in fishermen's nets, and are kept to make sure they're not injured (and to earn some dough from the tourists). They get released eventually... AND we got Grandma Buttons to the airport on time!! We were not convinced that was going to happen.