Dolphin Swim in Kona on Sunlight on Water

Fast boat ... small group ... and experts on dolphin behavior

Dolphin Swim in Kona on Sunlight on Water

Convenient departure from Honokohau Harbor

Dolphin Swim in Kona on Sunlight on Water captain Mike chanting

A ceremonial flute and a traditional Hawaiian chant start the day

Dolphin Swim in Kona on Sunlight on Water

This vessel is just the right size for a dolphin interaction

Dolphin Swim in Kona on Sunlight on Water

Dolphins love to swim at the bow of the boat

Dolphin Swim in Kona on Sunlight on Water a pod of dolphins

For every dolphin at the surface there are dozens below

Dolphin Swim in Kona on Sunlight on Water swimming with dolphins

Swimming alongside their graceful underwater ballet

Dolphin Swim in Kona on Sunlight on Water eye to eye with a dolphin

Get eye to eye with a wild dolphin

Dolphin Swim in Kona on Sunlight on Water dolphin loves swimming with the boat

Dolphins love racing in front of and along side the boat

Dolphin Swim in Kona on Sunlight on Water spinner dolphin jump

Spinner Dolphins don't just swim ... they leap for joy!

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Ask a QuestionReserve Now!!!
Hawaiian spinner dolphins are year round residents of Hawaii, and this is your opportunity to have an experience that you will easily remember for the rest of your life – swimming with wild and free dolphins in their natural habitat.

Dolphins are among the most intelligent beings on the planet and being with them in their own habitat will amaze you. If swimming with dolphins is something you have always dreamed of experiencing, make your reservation now to make this dream come true!

Dolphin Snorkel Swim

Join the crew of the Uhane Nui O Nai’a (Great Spirit of the Dolphin) for an unforgetable morning along the Kona Coast. The Uhane Nui O Nai’a is a 40′ vessel that has been custom built for snorkeling, with two ladders and a swim platform at the stern. It offers a fast, stable, smooth ride with comfortable padded seating, a rest room, plenty of shade, and a warm freshwater shower after you are done snorkeling. She is Coast Guard certified for 35 passengers but to ensure a quality experience for everyone, the tours are limited to a maximum of 25 guests. Your Dolphin Snorkel Swim journey will start with a Hawaiian ceremony to greet the day, and then it’s off to the adventure of a lifetime!

For those who don’t snorkel, this boat also offers unparalleled viewing opportunities for watching and photographing dolphins at the surface and during their acrobatic displays. See the slideshow for an idea of what you can experience just by riding along!

Most days the crew is joined by a world class videographer to capture your experience on the boat and in the ocean with the dolphins-  which you can purchase at the end of the trip. It is a wonderful way to re-experience your day again and again.

If you are seeking an experience that is out of the ordinary and that will connect you to these magnificent creatures and the Aloha and Spirit of Hawaii there is simply no better tour operator than SunLight On Water. Ecotourism is based upon the following principles; minimizing impact, building environmental and cultural awareness and respect and providing positive experiences for both visitors and hosts. SunLight on Water is committed to upholding these principles during their tours.

Schedule: Daily at 8am

Duration: 4 hours

Check In: Honokohau Harbor slip #G18.

Tour includes: Fresh fruit, muffins, cold beverages, and a variety of dry snacks. 12-20 digital photos of your trip.

Vessel: 40 foot USCG certified vessel - Custom built for snorkeling with warm water shower and restroom

Capacity: 25

Hawaii Oceanic new boat

Spend the day in the warm tropical waters of the Pacific

Hawaii Oceanic swimming with dolphins

Guests can often swim with dolphins in their natural habitat

Hawaii Oceanic a pod of bottle nose dolphins

A pod of curious bottle nose dolphins approaches the boat

Hawaii Oceanic a girl getting ready for snorkeling

I am soooo..... ready to snorkel!

Hawaii Oceanic captain Jason

Captain Jason at the helm

Hawaii Oceanic dolphin encounter

Dolphin encounters are frequent - here is a mother with her baby

Dolphin Dream

Hawaii Oceanic offers private and semi-private snorkeling and ocean adventure activities aboard their 30 foot power catamaran, the “Pueo Kai.” With a maximum of 6 passengers, these tours are uncrowded and guarantee you personal attention from the friendly crew while you are out on the water. Specific destinations and ocean fun can be tailored to fit your group’s desires. They even provide complimentary photos of your adventure along the Kona Coast.

Cruise the Kona Coast looking for pods of dolphins. Spinner dolphins are about the size of the average man and they congregate in pods of 20 to 300. They are extremely curious and provide an amazing acrobatic show. Once a pod is located, you’ll get a briefing on how to swim with the dolphins. Showing them utmost respect, you’ll enter the water accompanied by a swim guide and observe these magnificent creatures in the natural habitat.

Schedule: Daily at 7:15am

Duration: 3.5 – 4 hours

Tour includes: Snacks, beverages, and complimentary photos of your trip.

Gear Provided: All necessary gear is included on all tours. Flotation vests and swimmie noodles are provided for those who aren’t confident swimmers, and there is always an experienced guide in the water with you.

Vessel: 30 foot Power Catamaran

Capacity: 6


General Information
Check In: Honokohau Harbor, 5 miles south of the Kona Airport on the ocean side of Highway 11/19 (Queen Kaahumanu Highway)

GPS: 74-380 Kealakehe Pkwy Kailua-Kona, HI 96740 Click to view map

Gear Provided: Snorkel gear and flotation devices

What to Bring & Wear: Towel, swim wear, sunscreen, warm and dry clothes, hat, sun glasses, and camera

Restrictions: This is a unique and active tour. Participants should be in good health and should be comfortable swimming in the ocean, although various flotation devices are available to assist those who desire them. Children are permitted on this tour and there is no minimum age per se, but children pay the child snorkeler rate regardless of age or whether or not they snorkel. Children who are too young to get in the ocean must have an adult stay with them on the boat at all times.Because the dolphins are sometime encountered in open ocean waters, this is not the best tour for the “first time snorkeler.” If you’ve never snorkeled before, we recommend that you do this tour during the second half of your vacation, and go out on a boat like the Fair Wind II during the first half of your vacation to get a some snorkeling experience.

Cancellation Policy: Cancellations must be made at least 48 hours before the start of the event. 72 hours for party of 5 or more.

dolphin snorkel swim
Dolphins love to swim at the bow of the boat
dolphin snorkel swim
The boat is the right size for dolphin interaction

CDolphin Snorkel Swimruise Ship Passengers

Because of the timing of the Dolphin Snorkel Swim tour, it is not possible for cruise ship passengers. Kona is a tender port, and it takes time to ride the shuttle boat to shore.

Activity Tips

Kevin Ditamore – Owner / Manager

There is nothing that compares to the feeling of being in the ocean with the dolphins! You can see dolphins on tv, you can visit them in captivity, and you can even see them from a boat – but swimming with them in their natural ocean habitat is a unique and magical experience that can touch you in ways you might not be able to imagine. Michael and Melainah Yee are Kona’s unquestioned dolphin experts. They are known internationally and have been featured on several television documentaries discussing the Human/Dolphin connection. They also have an exceptional kinship with these marvelous creatures, and can offer you a dolphin experience unlike any other. They have been conducting Dolphin Swims longer and more successfully than any other Hawaiian Dolphin Swim eco-tour operator – 15 years! They have a 98% success rate in finding the dolphins each day! Equally important is the context within which they offer their tours. Their philosophy is one of total respect for the dolphins, all marine life and the ocean.

Captain Michael (aka China Mike) has been surfing, diving and has captained boats on the Kona Coast for over 25 years and is one of the most experienced captains on the Big Island. He operated the first charter boat offering Dolphin Swims in Hawaii. While in his teens, he became a well known champion surfer in Hawaii and Southern California. He is a complete water-man and his extensive knowledge of the coastline is unsurpassed. He is as comfortable in the water as most people are on land. When we first met “China Mike”,  he was at the harbor after a tour and he was doing some maintenance work on the Uhane Nui O Nai’a. I got a big grin on my face because I instantly recognized the hull … this is the same vessel that was operated on Maui as the Whale Express for several years. We loved the boat then, and we’re thrilled that it is once again providing tours in Hawaii. This boat is fast, comfortable, and while some boats are TOO big and other boats are TOO SMALL … for the dolphin swim program this boat is JUST RIGHT.

We joined “China Mike” for a tour on 2/20/2009. Our day began with a safety briefing, and just after the boat left the harbor the engines fell silent and I witnessed something that I’ve never previously experienced on a tour boat in Hawaii. We paused as the Captain recounted his love for the dolphins and the ocean, and shared the need to approach the day with reverence for what we would experience. He blew a ceremonial bamboo flute to each of the four points of the compass and then performed a traditional Hawaiian chant / blessing upon our day together. Very nice.

On the way to the likely spot where we would encounter the pod, the crew broke the tour group into several smaller groups and each staff member spent time explaining the etiquette … the do’s and don’ts … of slipping into the ocean and watching the dolphins. During our 4 hour tour we were dropped into the ocean four times, and on each drop we witnessed the graceful dance of the dolphins. For every one dolphin that is seen at the surface, there are many many more swimming 10 to 15 feet below. At times it was overwhelming when the pod passed by … do I continue to watch the 15 dolphins that just swam past me? Or should I watch the 20 more that are heading toward me? There were so many of them!

As stated above, we do recommend some previous snorkeling experience prior to doing this tour. This experience can be gained easily by doing a snorkel tour that is more oriented toward a first-timer a few days before you do the dolphin swim tour. A good tour for learning how to snorkel can be found by clicking here. Reserve the Fair Wind II for a date early in your vacation and do the dolphin swim later in your vacation. Oh, a word about kids on this tour. Children who are too young to snorkel must be accompanied by an adult at all times while on board; parents usually “take turns” with the child so both can experience the dolphin swim.

Other snorkel options include Fairwind, Hula Kai, Waikoloa Snorkel Sail, Captain Zodiac Rafting, Manta Ray Night Snorkel, and Private Snorkel Charters.