Swimming with the dolphins has been on my bucket list for years. And when I say swim with dolphins I mean swimming with them in the wild, not in captivity in a pool. After a couple of unsuccessful tries in Maui and New Zealand, I did more research and realized that one of the best and most predictable places to swim with the dolphins is on the Big Island.
I can’t believe that I end up in bed with a horrible cold and fever the day before our dolphin swim. I tell myself it will be alright in the morning after taking some cold meds. However, when dawn breaks, my head feels like a big cotton ball, and when I try to get on my feet, the world starts to spin. With tears in my eyes I retire back to bed, while my travel buddy Mandi gets ready to go on the adventure alone. She comes back with amazing stories, pictures and videos. They had only left the harbor 15 minutes when the first pod of dolphins showed up. This is what I had envisioned: being in the water for most of the trip swimming with these amazing creatures for several hours. I guess it was not meant to be for me again. Maybe me and dolphins have bad karma.
A second chance
But the next day we call Hawaian Oceanic, the company we booked our dolphin tour with to swim with the dolphins on Big island. I really want to try if there is any chance I can book another one. They have a boat go out the next day, but that is when we leave for Hilo to hike the volcano. However, after explaining the situation they are willing to book us on a boat a couple of days later. I have another chance.
Early morning start
The morning of the tour we get up at the crack of dawn to make it to the marina. We check in and get our wet suits. We leave the harbor with the sun just rising. It’s a beautiful morning with a couple of clouds and a smooth ocean. Even better, is that it is just the three of us, the captain and our snorkel guide. Just after we have left the harbor we see a whale and her calf pop up next to our boat. We watch the mother and baby gracefully glide and pop through the water and we feel truly blessed already.
Searching for dolphins
We cruise south towards Captain Cook cove, where we saw the mantra ray on our first day kayaking. A pack of wild dolphins hangs out here often early in the morning. Today there is no sign of them. Our captain decides to change direction and go north. We pass our harbor, where we were paddle boarding the previous day. We had dolphins jumping up all around us. This morning they are not around and I start to get an uneasy feeling. Would I really be out here again without getting a chance to swim with them?? But our captain is still confident, he knows another favorite dolphin spot a bit further north. But again, no sign. We continue to cruise north, passed Waikoloa Village, almost to the most Northern part of the island. No dolphins. We have been out on the boat for more than an hour and a half and we will soon have to return to shore. I slowly resign to the fact, that yet again, it might not be in the stars for me to swim with the dolphins.
My lucky day
All of a sudden our captain gets a message on the radio. A pod of dolphins has been spotted a little south of us. He quickly turns the boat and heads over. There they are, jumping frolicking about in the water. We put on our snorkels and flippers and get in the water. Our guide takes us and we float and swim while dolphins dive and jump all around us. It’s magical, its all I had ever hoped for, a dream come true. We are in the water for 15-20 minutes when our captain calls us back to the boat. I think we are going back to shore, but he tells us that there is another pod spotted. He wants to give us a second snorkel opportunity before our tour ends.
A dream come true
I finally checked one of my biggest bucket-list items of my list. I highly recommend Hawaian Oceanic to anybody who wants to experience swimming with dolphins or manta rays. The company has great people, who are passionate about their jobs and make sure everybody has a good time.