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Snorkeling and diving with dolphins?

Los Angeles...
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Snorkeling and diving with dolphins?

I'm going to the Big Island in August and want to plan some snorkeling and diving trips.

1. What locations might be the best for being able to see dolphins?

2. Any idea how close you can legally get to a dolphin?

Thanks.

LA
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1. Re: Snorkeling and diving with dolphins?

Don't ask about legal technicalites with dolphins.

Just don't go into the water if they are there. Leave them alone.

Los Angeles...
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2. Re: Snorkeling and diving with dolphins?

I'm sensing this is a touchy subject there? I'm only asking because I'd like to see dolphins, though certainly do not want to do so if it is illegal, or if it is bad for the dolphins. I truly do not know much about the subject, that is why I am asking here.

Thanks.

Island of Hawaii...
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3. Re: Snorkeling and diving with dolphins?

Yes, it is illegal AND bad for the dolphins to go near them, and boat tours that offer dolphin swims are violating the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Please read the Top Questions on dolphins; they are full of info on how people cause harm to the dolphins by loving them to death. After you have read the topics, please feel free to ask questions if you still have them.

There are boat tours that do not chase dolphins, where there is a good chance the dolphins may come ride the bow and you can have a look that way if you are in luck.

La Mirada...
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for Kauai
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4. Re: Snorkeling and diving with dolphins?

Thank you for respecting the dolphins. On the Island of Hawaii forum page (you're on a sub-forum page for Kohala Coast), there is some great info under Top Questions (on the right side of the page) on why swimming or snorkeling with the dolphins is so detrimental to them.

I also hate the fact that they're "kept" for making money off tourists at a certain BI hotel.

3Chihuahuas

Kona
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5. Re: Snorkeling and diving with dolphins?

It's not so much a touchy subject, Kathayes, as a very frustrating one, and mahalo for being thoughtful enough to ask!

At the other end of the spectrum are the people who just assume that because THEY want to fulfill their fantasy of "swimming with" dolphins, who cares what the laws might be, or how it might affect the dolphins.

And then there's those who know very well what the laws are, but they keep doing it because they are making big profits from it, and know that the enforcement is underfunded and overwhelmed.

For those who live in the places where they are forced to watch dolphins being harassed by hundreds of thoughtless swimmers any time the dolphins come into the bay to rest - well, suffice it to say that it is an awful thing to witness.

As KK says, there are a few boat tour operators that don't chase dolphins or drop people into the water on top of them, and you could have some wonderful sightings. From the shore can also be a great way to watch them.

Rogue River, Oregon
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6. Re: Snorkeling and diving with dolphins?

My experience is based mostly on Maui, but most sailing-snorkeling boats I've been on seem to attract dolphins. It's almost hard to go out on a boat and not see them. I much prefer true sailing craft to motorized ones and this may be part of why the dolphins are drawn to the boats. The key is to let the animal make the first move.

Big Island, Hawaii
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7. Re: Snorkeling and diving with dolphins?

In addition to the good advice from others, pick an operator that follows NOAA's DolphinSmart guidelines. These companies will not offer snorkeling or swimming with dolphins, but safe boat watching.

Charlottesville...
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8. Re: Snorkeling and diving with dolphins?

Is it bad form to identify on TA which operators follow NOAA DolphinSmart guidelines and which do not?

Big Island, Hawaii
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9. Re: Snorkeling and diving with dolphins?

Not at all! It would helpful to have a list. I've been trying to compile a comprehensive one for the TQ but haven't gotten around to doing so. Feel free to post some if you know and I'll do the same and we can link this topic to the TQ.

Edited: 5:52 pm, July 24, 2013
Charlottesville...
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10. Re: Snorkeling and diving with dolphins?

Well, for all the time I've spent reading on this forum, I finally hope to make it to the Big Island this late Oct / early Nov!

So I wouldn't presume to know the answer to this question, however...I would like to know about three operators who offer snorkeling tours that appeal to me.

Endless Summer Charters (Kawaihae)

Wild Hawai Ocean Adventures (Honokohau Harbor) and

AdventureXRafting (Puako Harbor) - offers a manta snorkel near Mauna Lani

I'm glad to hear that there might be a list compiled and updated. It would really help visitors! I bet that most will not call and ask operators that particular question. Sometimes when I read TA and Yelp reviews, it seems like a fine line that I cannot discern whether they follow the guidelines or not.

Thanks in advance for addressing this need. It might also encourage operators to "get on board!"