Swimming With Wild Dolphins in Oahu, Hawaii
Brought to you by Beth Richards Swimwear
Generally, I’m terrified of anything that lives and moves under water. Dolphins are not the exception and even though I have touched and played with dolphins before, I was on land and not sharing the same pot of water with them. However, on a recent trip to Oahu, Hawaii, I got to experience something I had not done before. I got to jump in the water with wild dolphins!
Our guides from Wild Side Specialty Tours did an excellent job explaining to my group everything about dolphins and the experience we were going to have. All day I had butterflies in my stomach, I was wondering if we were going to be safe, if the tour guides would know not to throw us in the water with some hungry animals, if I was going to be able to react properly in case of an accident, etc. When I was listening to our guide, I became more curious than scared to see with my own eyes what she was explaining.
The dolphins we were about to swim with were closer to the shore, which meant that it was their resting time. When they sleep, they are still very aware of their surroundings and they keep swimming in groups. Sometimes they rub bellies, sometimes they swim upside down and on very rare occasions, they come close to humans.
When we got our instructions before jumping in the water, I was petrified. I had to remember so many commands that just the idea of paying attention to our guide to be safe and trying not to freak out with the other animals in the water was causing some anxiety, but as soon as jumped in and felt the peaceful movement of the water, it was all gone. “Let’s swim over there!”, “Faster!”, “Slower, hold on”, “Ready? When I say so you start swimming!”, the instructions dictated. Soon I saw myself wanting to swim towards the dolphins and not away, trying to get closer to this fascinating species. I got to see them and swim in the same water. I was so surprised to see how active and dynamic they are as a group during their resting time.
Other tourist groups came to our spot and were so loud and obnoxious that the dolphins quickly left the area. We jumped on the boat again and went a bit further from the shore to find the wild dolphins that were not sleeping. Our guide told us that this time we were not going to jump in because these creatures were interested in getting fed. Not that they like humans, but you just don’t walk in the cave of a hungry animal, right?
I don’t remember how I developed this fear of water animals, but this experience reminded me of how silly some of our fears can be and how your brain can play tricks on you. It also reminded me how important it is to conserve the oceans so creatures like these can keep enjoying their natural habitat. The ocean is so vast that I can’t even begin to imagine all the ecosystems that are getting affected by our mistreatment. Swimming with wild dolphins in Hawaii is an experience I would recommend to anyone, children or adults, because if you do it right and have the right people to guide you, this can be an eye-opening activity that you probably were not expecting to have.