While most people are panicking about a pandemic, I’m PLEASED, and just a teeny bit PANICKED about almost getting plunged by a PACHYDERM. (silent applause 👏🏾 for my amazing use of alliteration there;)...anywho)
So, I got the INCREDIBLE opportunity to visit an ELEPHANT sanctuary that is funded by guests like me who visit the park not only to play with elephants, but to support their relocation and recovery from the trauma they’ve experienced in the neighboring island of Sumatra. This is NOT A ZOO. I did my research, as I am an animal LOVER and would not knowingly support any organization that intentionally harms animals. Seeing elephants in the WILD while on safari in Africa was great, but I didn’t get to interact with them as at the sanctuary.
So, now to the pleasure and panic part. What had happened was...I was SWIMMING WITH AN ELEPHANT named Melanie, and her trainer. “Swimming” is a bit of an exaggeration, as I was sitting on Melanie while SHE went for a swim. Elephants LOVE to swim, as it keeps their tough, dry skin cool in the hot climates where they reside. So, on our swim together, Melanie would DIVE underwater as FAR as she could, before the trainer would signal with his feet and verbal commands, for her to come up. But Melanie was THIRSTY for that swim it seemed, because she was taking her sweet time underwater. And the water was FREEZING! At one point, she dove so deep the water was almost UP TO MY NECK. I felt a tinge of panic because I thought she was going to take me ALL THE WAY UNDER. I can swim, so that’s not the issue. I just absolutely did not want to go under THAT cold, murky water, unable to see, with a 5,000 lb. pachyderm beneath me. The video says it all:).
As the water started to go over my shoulders, I REACHED BACK for the trainer’s hand. He signaled a bit harder with his feet, and Melanie quickly came back up. WHEW. The rest of the swim was truly a pleasure. More photos from the MAGICAL day to come. Meanwhile, just keeping my head above water. GOOD TIMES!