Swimming with Wild Dolphins in Hawai’i

9:50 AM

There is nothing more exhilarating than swimming alongside a pod of wild dolphins. The way they move so effortlessly and glide so beautifully through the water is mesmerizing. It always amazes me to see the different personalities of the dolphins in the pod come out as you dive alongside them. Some will move closer to you out of curiosity, the babies usually go hide near their mothers, and others take the chance to show off and put on an acrobatic show for you.

Here are some things to know before diving in with these cetaceans.

Benefits of Meeting Dolphins in the Wild

I am strongly against captivity and if you love dolphins then you should be too. The demand for dolphin encounters leads to dolphins being captured in the wild. When in captivity dolphins suffer a lower survival rate than in the wild and they are no longer able to hunt and play as they should. Confinement leads to stress that causes behavioral issues and higher risk of disease. It is stolen freedom.

When you swim with them in the wild, you are meeting them on their own turf. The option to swim with you is now up to them instead of forced upon them. 

Don’t buy a ticket to shows or encounters.

They’re Wild Animals

These are wild animals and they will act accordingly. If they feel threatened or scared they will not hesitate to protect themselves and their pod. Use your good judgment to determine whether the dolphins want you there or not.

Do not get too close. 
Do not attempt to touch them. 
Do not try to provoke them.
Do not corner them. 
Do not feed them.

Never mistake their curiosity as friendly behavior.

Safety First

Keeping up with the pod is actually one of the more difficult things I have done in water. I consider myself a fast swimmer and I have the endurance to swim for long periods of time and for many miles, but dolphins will give you a run for your money. If you are not a strong swimmer I do not recommend trying this. If you still want to see these beauties up close then bring your kayak or paddle board (be careful with your paddles!) so you do not get tired.

Why You Should Never Swim with Wild Dolphins

Swimming with wild dolphins is a controversial topic. The line between passive observation and actual disturbance is a thin one. The dolphins hang out in the shallow areas in order to rest and sleep. If they are disturbed then they will not be fully rested which makes them more vulnerable to predators and sickness.

NOAA’s guidelines say we should stay about 50 yards from the animals for their own protection.

Mahalos, Alecia <3

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