On our 6th and final day in O’ahu we had decided to book a dolphin tour. I had seen Julie from PBFingers post on her dolphin adventure so we decided to use the same company. There was still availability on the day we wanted so we drove out uber early by Hawaiian standards to make our boat. My tummy was tre angry from the nerves but once I was on the boat I started to calm down. I was a little antsy about what to do with my glasses so I took them off then realized I couldn’t see the scenery and we had a bit of a ride till we found dolphins and put them back on. Our guide was really excited and enthusiastic. She explained the daily activities of the dolphins and the marine laws that protect them.
I think it’s good to be honest and the truth is swimming with dolphins is taboo. Marine law protects marine mammals including dolphins from many things including harassment. Harassment is a vague term and what constitutes harassment is not well defined. Many believe that swimming with wild dolphins is harassment. Now I oppose the idea of marine mammals in captivity and believe that doing so is essentially torture. I love them but the idea of paying and supporting a place that keeps them in tanks in order for me to swim with them, it makes my skin crawl. So I think I am pretty sensitive to dolphins needs and probably over personify them in many people’s views. That being the case I do not believe I or we harassed the dolphins at all. Yes we drove a boat up to their pod. Yes we jumped into the water near them but it’s an ocean and they are uber fast and can avoid us if wanted.
The dolphin tour we went on has the dolphins best interest at heart. They would rather you have a bad time than put dolphins in an uncomfortable situation. To me that’s how it should be. We heard many times that this is not our home, that we are visitors and to treat the animals that live here with respect. The boats they use are quiet, the exhaust is above the water so that it’s less noisy and offensive to the dolphins. We were told how best to respect the dolphins in our swimming style. It was however a bit chaotic at first. We formed two lines to get onto the ladder and those lines had to then merge. This is when Chris and I got separated. I was in the water and looked down. I saw dolphins so I started paralleling them. Chris got in and was told to swim the other direction. I didn’t see him again until it was time to go.
When I got in the water I could see groups of dolphins. Most were about 100ft down along the bottom but there were a few groups closer to the surface. I started swimming along beside the group, I didn’t really move closer to them just headed in the same direction as them. I was following them around just observing and being respectful and all of a sudden something moves up from below on my left. It was a dolphin. Right there an arm’s length away. I could see it watching me, its markings. It was so cool. They are smaller and leaner than the dolphins at aquariums at home. We made eye contact and just kept swimming along. Me as hard as I could it effortlessly. Then in a blink it was in front of me. Inches. If I put out my hand I could of held onto its tail (and been seriously f-ed up I imagine). I was following it watching its tail propel it forward when bang. Some idiot swam right into me and the dolphin vanished. I apologized to the girl idiot although it was not my fault. I was enjoying my moment with the dolphin and she wrecked it! She tried to intrude on it, steal it, and wrecked it. My oh so smart friend Korina. Told me she was glad the girl idiot wrecked it, then she didn’t get to be a part of it. If you are not going to be respectful then you don’t deserve it. The dolphin decided to get that close with me, not her and when she did something it didn’t like it was gone. I didn’t force or initiate the encounter but she ended it.
After that I continued swimming and watching. One dolphin breached beside a swimmer. There were also a few small babies with their mothers playing near the surface. Then all of a sudden they disappeared. There was no way to catch up, nothing we could do to stop them. They decided it was enough, that they had better things to be doing so they left.
We then swam back to the boat, a little cold and tired. We then headed to a nearby reef to swim and hopefully see some turtles. It decided to pour and we got soaked if that makes any sense. It stopped again by the time we reached the reef and we went and snorkeled. We saw a few turtles but gave them plenty of room since there were more than a few people willing to get to close. Our guide yelled at them thoroughly for that. It was overcast so the visibility definitely wasn’t like Kee.
After we got back to shore we changed and decided to spend the rest of the day out and about snorkeling. We stopped by the Dole plantation for our third time and I had pulled pork with pineapple. It was yummy and afterwards we had more dole whip also yummy. We then headed back towards the beaches and tried a few more snorkeling spots. We ended up back at the research pier and on our way home stopped again at the blowhole. We then made our way back to the hotel to clean up and find some dinner.
The line up at the Cheesecake Factory wasn’t to disheartening so we decided to go there. It was good and the cheesecake was super rich. We then went back to the hotel to pack up our stuff and prepare to fly back to Kauai in the morning.
*The dolphin photos were taken by Chris and are really bad compaired to how we experienced it. In fact all the underwater photos don’t do any justice.