When we first came to the Hawaiian archipelago in 2017 we had planned to go by kayak to meet dolphins in their natural environment, but unfortunately we did not have enough time to do so. When we came back in November 2018, we took advantage of our wedding in Kauai to make our parents discover the archipelago and we did not fail to send them to spend a week on Big Island: it is precisely near Kona that are located the areas known to be frequented daily by dolphins!In the meantime, a faithful reader, Elodie (a big thank you to her), warmly recommended us the excursion of Kona Ocean Adventures to go swimming with the dolphins. At that time we hadn't thought of paying an excursion to meet them but after reading her story and her photos that you can read a little bit further down in this article), we completely changed our mind!
Neither one nor two, we gave our parents the mission to try the experience when they went to Big Island and to come back to us. Since then, we had the opportunity to return to Big Island in September 2019 and finally realize this trip that we really wanted to do! While waiting for our complete return in writing, here is already the video of our trip with Kona Ocean Adventures (choose English subtitles), and we might as well warn you: it was great!!
1Choosing the provider: Kona Ocean Adventures
We directed our parents to Kona Ocean Adventures on Elodie's advice but also because we already knew them for their seriousness following the positive experience we had with them during the Manta ray excursion (don't hesitate to read our feedback). We also appreciated at that time their professionalism and knowledge of the marine environment as well as their perfectly organized excursions in small boats (8-10 people max). The return of our parents proved us right again!
2Swimming with dolphins in Kona: their experience feedback
Feedback written by our parents (excursion at the end of October 2018)
« This morning at 8am, the Kona Ocean Adventures boats are waiting for us, perfectly recognizable by the stickers on their sides. Two boats are chartered for the occasion around which our guide and the captain of the boat are busy. We are lucky, only the three of us will be on the second boat (in addition to the guide and the captain), a group of Americans boarding the other one.
Quite quickly we leave the port. The staff of Kona Ocean Adventures knows perfectly well the areas where we have to go to watch dolphins and it doesn't take us long to see them.
While we are in the water observing the sea floor, a small group of 3 or 4 dolphins come and graze us as if to incite us to come and play with them, simply incredible! The guide did not hesitate to make them come back towards us so that we could see them better.
After this magical moment we changed sector to do some snorkeling in a place full of fish. A nice show that lasted about an hour, time for the team of Kona Ocean Adventures to prepare us a snack that we really enjoyed!
Our guide didn't hesitate to grab his guitar and give us some Hawaiian songs, what a dream...
While we were eating some pineapples, watermelons and other local fruits, another group of dolphins started to show off right in front of the boat, jumping and spinning, like kids! The show is just exceptional! We have also been able to observe another group of dolphins a few dozen meters away, following another boat and acting crazy, you have to see it to believe it (here is a small clip)!
You will have understood it, we spent an unforgettable moment, to live absolutely! »
Elodie's feedback (excursion in June 2018)
Here is the feedback from Elodie L. who convinced us at the time!
« The trip with the dolphins was amazing! We went with Kona Ocean Adventures. As we have a poor level of English, we asked to be with Laure (who speaks French) to be more comfortable and be able to exchange more easily. She's really great, there's absolutely nothing wrong with her. For the excursion itself, we were 4 on board the boat (2 couples).
30 seconds after we left the harbour, she said: 'Here are the dolphins' We all laughed! Well NO, there they were, the dolphins! By the dozens!
The excursion lasted from 8am to 12.30pm. We dived 4 or 5 times in different places to swim with the dolphins. Some groups were very docile, others swam very fast and saved themselves quite quickly, so it was sometimes quite sporty.
At times it was a bit awkward because as soon as a boat found a group of dolphins, it was joined by other boats with other groups, often much larger than ours. It was a bit of a wading pool, Laure agreed, but it wasn't her fault. But at other times, it was us who found the group of dolphins, so we were alone with them.
She also showed us a part of the coast of Kona, going down south. Then she took us snorkeling in a place whose name I forgot but whose bottom was nice and full of fish (moray eels, whitetip reef shark, etc...).
I had my Gopro, Laure proposed me to take the videos herself so that we could be on it and enjoy the moment instead of always being the eyes on the video. And, at mealtime, she had something planned specifically for me, as I'm a vegetarian.
Honestly, we were pampered, it was great! In that sense, I found it better value for money than Manta rays.»
That' s it for the two feedbacks. You will easily understand that we are looking forward to giving you our feedback to bring you even more photos and advice!
3To book your excursion
To enjoy this unique moment of swimming with dolphins and at the same time discover snorkeling areas that are difficult to reach other than by boat, you can book here: Make a reservation with Kona Ocean Adventures. The "Comments" field which will appear once you have selected the number of people on the desired date, will allow you, as for Elodie, to make special requests (e.g. if you are vegetarian, etc).
Do not hesitate to book directly via the link above, this is the official booking form of Kona Ocean Adventures with whom we have been partners for almost 2 years. The price is the same for you and this allows us to earn a small commission that allows us to live today :-)
If you had the opportunity to experience this excursion, do not hesitate to tell us about it in the comments!