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Many vacationers to Hawaii dream of the opportunity to swim with dolphins in their natural environment … the crew of Dolphin Excursions may just be able to make this dream come true for you! Their program has been recognized as one of the leaders in the Eco Tourism industry by NOAA and other state marine agencies.
Dolphin Excursions specializes in rafting tours along the remote west shore of Oahu. This area is well known for having the calmest and clearest waters around Oahu, and is ideal for snorkeling, whale watching (in season) and dolphin encounters. This coastline attracts large pods of spinner and bottlenose dolphins.
Your adventure begins with shuttle pick-up service at your Waikiki hotel. You will be transported to the Waianae Boat Harbor on the west side of the island, where you will meet the crew of the Naia I … a fast, highly maneuverable 32′ zodiac that is perfect for these excursions. Maximum tour capacity is 22 guests.
On a typical tour there are three components:
1. Viewing spinner dolphins from the boat (all year) as well as humpback whales (December to April). Bottlenose dolphins are also encountered frequently. This is a chance to watch the acrobatic performance of these amazing creatures as the spinner dolphins swim in the wake of the boat, frequently leaping out of the water in amazing acrobatic displays. Success at observing dolphins and whales is very high (in the 90% range on the earlier morning tours). Dolphin Excursions is so confident that you’ll encounter dolphins and/or whales (in season) that they will put you on another trip for free if there aren’t any sightings during your tour.
2. Snorkeling / swimming with dolphins. Dolphin Excursions calls their in-water program “the drop”. When a pod of dolphins is encountered and ocean conditions are favorable, the crew of the Nai’a will orchestrate the timing and entry point so that you can view them in their underwater environment. During this aspect of the program all snorkelers must wear life jackets while swimming in the open ocean. “The drop” is successful about 90% of the time on the earlier morning tours when dolphins are sighted and about 50% of the time in the later morning and afternoon tour times.
3. Snorkeling with tropical fish and Hawaiian green sea turtles. The west side offers a variety of pristine reefs for snorkeling with colorful fish and giant Hawaiian Green sea turtles. During periods of high surf (mainly in the winter) snorkeling may not be possible on all tours. If ocean conditions for snorkeling are not good, more time will be spent watching whales and dolphins.