We spent our first full day here by visiting the dolphins Winter and Hope.

Ever since seeing the movies Dolphin Tale and Dolphine Tale 2, Namine has been enamored with Winter, the dolphin who lost her tail, and Hope, Winter’s adopted daughter. When Namine realized that we’d be close enough to be able to visit the aquarium in Clearwater again, she insisted that we see Winter and Hope once more.

Enlarge

IMG_20150920_142305341
Winter is Namine's spirit animal.

Namine’s favorite sea animals are probably dolphins (thanks in no small part to Winter and Hope), but they’re followed closely by sharks.

They had an area where you could touch a sea urchin. Namine’s heart might have said yes, but her brain said nopenopenope. That’s okay.

When we visited the otter area, Namine saw what she thought was something else.

“Daddy, look! An eel!”

I laughed. “No, sweetie, that’s not an eel. That’s an otter.”

“But where are its legs?”

Then the otter climbed out of the water.

“Ohhhh,” Namine said. “Now I see its legs. Never mind, I guess that’s an otter and not an eel after all.”

After watching the otter for a bit, Namine told me that she changed her mind. “I want to pet the sea urchin, but only if you’ll touch it too.” I was more than happy to oblige her.

Namine’s touching the sea urchin seemed to inspire her to bravery, because after that, she was also excited about touching the sting rays (another thing that, in the past, she’s always had to sort of psych herself up for — but not this time).

Enlarge

IMG_20150920_143836663
She even tried to feed the sting rays, but she couldn't reach deep enough.

We had originally wanted to go swimming at the beach, but we ended up not having enough time. We still had to stop at the beach, though, so Namine could at least feel the wet sand between her toes. She loved it!

This post is part of the timeline: Namine’s Wish – an ongoing story on this site. View the timeline for more context on this post.