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Swim with Dolphins Kona and Why You Can’t Experience This

I’ve traveled to many other countries that have “dolphin swims”. These are typically very expensive and the dolphins are in captivity. This is something that I personally don’t agree with, but I do know that it exists and people want to encounter these incredible mammals anyway they can.

Unfortunately it is now illegal to swim with dolphins Kona. We can no longer go out in the pacific ocean off the coast of Kailua Kona swimming with wild dolphins in their own habitat. They are not held captive or fed in any way. Normally when you swim with dolphins, you are experiencing wild dolphin behaving in their natural environment. Just hanging with the pod but due to NOAA’s new rules and regulations it is now prohibited to swim with dolphins in Kona, Hawaii on a Kona snorkel tour.

The most common dolphin we have off the Kona coast is the Hawaiian spinner dolphin. This species of dolphin are among the smallest dolphins, only averaging 6 feet in length for an average full grown adult. Spinner dolphin babies are only about 2 feet in length. Too cute! They can be very playful and curious. Please keep in mind that these are wild marine mammals. It’s best to either go out with a reputable operator, and follow the strict guidelines they require. This is for your safety as well as the safety of the marine life you may be experiencing. Kona Snorkel Trips out of the Honokohau harbor is a great company to book a Kona snorkel tour with. Kona Snorkel Trips have been taking guests out for many years now on the Captain Cook snorkeling tour. It’s always nice to have a professional naturalist guiding the adventures. These guides are experienced with dolphin behavior and are trained in understanding marine life. It’s important to understand how to avoid dolphins even if they may seem like they want to interact. If you swim with dolphins on your own please take the time to understand what and (most importantly) what not to do. Ali’i Adventures has staff trained in explaining safety protocol. Any of the staff at Ali’i Adventures can assist you with any and all questions regarding interacting with the local marine life. Ali’i Adventures also has everything you need to go out on your own. If you choose not to go out with a local boat, like Kona Snorkel Trips to do your Kona snorkel tour adventure. Ali’i Adventures has Kayaks to paddle out and snorkel sets to be able to dive in and swim with dolphins Kona. Ali’i Adventures also has stand up paddle boards for rent. This is another great way to enhance your experience.  Paddle out from Ironman beach at the Kailua pier and head to the jet ski ramp about a ½ mile out. In the morning, it’s an easy paddle out and it’s generally calm with just a light sea breeze blowing. The afternoons can get a bit windy, but usually not enough to make it difficult to paddle. Dolphins are usually most active early in the morning and late in the afternoon. Hawaiian spinner dolphins are nocturnal. They sleep during the day and hunt, play and mate all night. Oh, the life of a dolphin. During the bulk of the daytime, they are in a state referred to as active rest. They can only shut off half of their brain at a time, due to the fact they need to stay alert enough to remember to come to the surface to breath. They are a mammal and need to breath air. It’s weird to imagine the fact they can drown if they don’t get to the surface to breath air.

We try to avoid interaction with dolphins as it disturbs their rest when they need it most in the morning time. This is the time they need to be resting. Even if we’re not intending to interrupt them, just people being around them, encourages them to play and be much more active than they should be considering they should be resting. Like us, if they don’t get the rest they need on a nightly basis, this can open them up to illness and infection due to their immune systems being stressed.  Instead you should consider doing a manta ray snorkel or a Captain Cook snorkeling tour. Most boats get out to the various coves by between 8-9:00am. This is a great time because the ocean is usually smoother and calmer in the morning hours before the wind picks up. The best morning hours are between 6:30 am -11:00am. Wild spinner dolphins can start to get more awake and playful again around 4:00 pm. This is when they start to wake up and become their playful selves. You have to be a bit luckier to see them during this time because they have plans to feed, mate and play in their very near future at this point. They usually don’t let anyone stand in the way from heading out to sea in search of squid. This is probably their favorite meal. They will usually need to head out into the deeper waters to find that delicious meal. When they are closer to the shallows during the daytime, they are much more protected from predators, such as tiger sharks and oceanic white tips to name of few sharks that prey on dolphins. During the daytime hours, they buddy up to help fend off the threat of danger. They’re also never far from their pod. Usually the pods are know to consist of anywhere from 30- 100 dolphins. Mega pods are also seen from time to time. These consist to over 100 dolphins in one giant pod.

Whether you choose to go out on a boat or rent a kayak or paddle board for your swim with dolphins Kona, be safe and pay attention to the dolphin’s behavior. Be mindful and respectful. These are highly intelligent mammals. Be sure to look up Ali’I Adventures and Kona Snorkel Trips to assist you with your Kona snorkel tour experience.