Our ‘Classic Guam’ Dolphin-Watching Experience
This week, I decided we needed some dolphins in our lives. I mean, why not? Dolphins are super cool and there are no penguins nearby, so this is a no-brainer. Bonus: the boat launches from the neighboring town of Agat, which will make this an easy voyage. Yea Dolphins!
We packed all the essentials – water bottles, sunscreen and Pokemon cards. Because you never can be too prepared.
We also brought friends. Well, I should say Jackie brought her friend Sabrina and the kids brought some of their friends (Sabrina’s kids…). None of my friends came. See, if my wife fails to make arrangements for me to hang out with other dudes, it doesn’t happen. My reliance on her literally stretches this far.
We get to the Agat Marina around 10:15 but we cannot head to the boat because Dwayne Johnson is singing our children’s favorite Moana song. We’re not going anywhere until it’s over, and frankly I have no problem with this. You’re welcome, kids!
So we’re in the parking lot and already this adventure has all the makings of a legit Guam experience: no signs, no customer representatives, and no boats preparing to take people out. There’s also no clarity on what time this thing actually starts – indeed, the brochure says 10:15, but our voucher says 10:30, and some random guy tells us this thing starts at 10:45. Classic Guam.
While we wait, the kids feed fish in the marina with goldfish. I assure you the irony in real-world fish eating Pepperidge Farm Goldfish is not lost on our four year old. “DADDY! THE FISH ARE EATING THE FISH!!!”
Why yes. Yes they are.
We set sail as expected, right at 11:00. Before we even get out of the marina, the kids begin identifying all the amazing sea creatures they somehow see. Brody sees a dolphin and sharks. Jimmy sees a whale. Riley sees an octopus…
I see adorable liars.
A few minutes into the trip and the kids see Flying Fish. But for real this time. And who knew fish could fly? Add this to their list of things that apparently exist.
These fish have a legit superpower, and watching them in action easily occupies our group and about 30 asian tourists for the first 15 minutes of the trip. Unfortunately, these little suckers are hard to photograph.
Right about here is when the boat started serving lunch. The menu? Sandwiches and water. Only, the sandwiches are made of nothing but cake frosting. Oh yes. It’s a frosting sandwich. Inevitably, the kids will ask me if they can have desert because they ate all of their sandwich. And indeed they should be rewarded with cake.
So. The boat keeps going out and we get word that there are dolphins in the area. And sure enough there’s like eight of them swimming together. I’m super excited because we now see dolphins and that was the whole point of this trip. Mission Accomplished!
But another part of me is bummed because there’s a money back guarantee if you don’t actually get to see dolphins, and I was kinda hoping this whole thing would be free. So it’s a mixed range of emotions.
Anyway, we watched these dolphins for about 15 minutes while they entertained us tourists. They’re mesmerizing – I could stand and watch them all day.
After the dolphin viewing we head out to some other remote area where we would be for the remainder of this excursion. Upon arrival, the captain tells us we can fish or swim. Our kids don’t get many opportunities to fish cuz I hate touching those slimy suckers. But there’s a crew here to take care of all that, so naturally we’re taking this opportunity to do some fishing.
Two minutes in, and Brody’s pole is trying to pull him overboard. I seize the rod from him and reel in a sweet-looking blue fish. A member of the crew informs us that this particular fish has something on its gills that, if touched, will make grown men cry. A solid reminder of why I despise touching fish…
The crew member puts the fish into a bucket. This will become relevant later. For now, suffice it to say Brody is a proud fisherman.
Nearly an hour of fishing would yield zero additional fish. I’ll add that I definitely underestimated how much physical labor goes into assisting a bunch of young children with bait, rogue hooks, and intertwined fishing lines. Which is conducive to this…
Before the trip was over I went snorkeling. Despite Guam’s status as a mecca of underwater creature observation, I don’t do this often because (a) it’s too quiet, (b) sharks eat people, and (c), fish can apparently fly so who knows what else they’re capable of doing. But with dozens of tourists in the water I figure I have math on my side.
I will say, what’s amazing about these beautiful fish is that you can actually watch them poop. It’s so cool! But thats about it.
Eventually the captain tells us it is time to head back. Right about here is when the kids begin begging to keep the fish that Brody caught. Our neighbor Vivian reminds me that she has a tank at her house the fish can live in. That would be a beta fish…
We brief the kids on two potential courses of action. Option One: we let the fish go overboard so it can be with its family. Option Two: we keep the fish and it dies immediately.
So which option did they choose? I’ll let the suspense build for a second…
The kids unanimously vote for Option Two, despite the well-known fatal consequences. Fortunately, the votes counted for nothing and there never really was an option, per se. We let the crew keep the fish and I am quite certain he was fried that night. But the kids don’t need to know all the details…
Before we reach land, I strike a perfectly creepy Titanic pose.
In all, we went swimming, fishing, and saw some really cool sea creatures. We filled up on some frosting sandwiches, and I watched fish poop. How could one ask for a better day?
This is the kind of family time I need more of in my life. It was a small reminder of why we agreed to come to an island in the middle of nowhere…
It was classic Guam.