We acknowledge the dolphins as the masters of the seas and we follow their lead. We are their guests. When entering the water, mimic their behavior. For example, if they are joyful and playful, laugh, dive and somersault with them. If quiet, slide into a meditative space within yourself and swim slowly with them. Allow them to approach you, swim softly in the same direction, becoming a member of their pod. Do not startle them in anyway and avoid diving in to the water above or cutting directly toward them.
The dolphins do not want you to touch them. If you reach out they swim away. To keep them close to you, swim with your arms at your side. Some people like to grasp their hands behind their back. Even after years and thousands of hours, we respect and honor them in this way too. Propel yourself along by kicking your fins only. Mimicking their sounds is recommended. They appreciate your attempts to talk to them in their language. Because we adopted this swimming protocol, the dolphin’s trust us and will swim close to us.
They understand the power of eye-to-eye contact, and they intimately share the depths of their love through the light of their unblinking eyes and with swimmers whom they know and trust.
~ Joan Ocean, Cetacean Academy Co-Founder
Hawaiian Spinner Dolphins are nocturnal offshore feeders and use our sheltered bays and shorelines as daytime resting, mating, and playing areas. Please honor their use of this protected habitat and behave as a respectful guest visiting the dolphin’s home.
Regulation and Protection
Dolphins, and all marine mammals, are protected from harassment by federal law; the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Harassment means “any act of pursuit or annoyance which has the potential to disturb the dolphins in the wild by causing disruption of their behavioral patterns of migration, nursing, playing, breeding, sheltering or resting/sleeping.”
If you should encounter the wild Dolphins whilst swimming or kayaking, please observe the following guidelines for being a respectful visitor in their home.
Allow the pod to approach you.
They will initiate interaction if they want to.
Be aware and sensitive to Dolphins behavior.
Dolphins have moods like we do. Sometimes they are sociable and sometimes not. Take your cue from their behavior. Respect their habitat. Honor their space and behavioral mode. If they are resting or traveling, please respect that they may choose not to interact with you.
Communicating with the dolphins.
The dolphins are always communicating with us. Are you listening? Remain open-minded to receive their messages and images..
Swim with your arms at your side.
Sudden arm movements, chasing after, or reaching toward them will frighten or startle them and they will move away. Don’t try to touch them. Allow them to be wild and free.
Be mindful of other swimmers.
Watch where you are going. Try not to cut in front of others in your eagerness to get close. If you see someone swimming alone in an intimate communication with the dolphins, don’t interrupt. It is as rude in the water as it is on land. The dolphins observe your kindness and respond by approaching you.
Leave foreign objects ashore.
This includes things such as string leis, plastics, bags, rope, and play toys which can be harmful to marine mammals and sea life.
Trust in nature’s food supply.
To attempt to feed wild dolphins is detrimental to their health as well as their social behavior.
Honor your limits.
If the water is too rough or too deep, or the dolphins are too far out, don’t go swimming. If you are worried or afraid about going out, don’t go. Your safety is the number one priority.
Be slow and cautious when approaching by boat or kayak.
Go slowly and quietly, and watch for swimmers. Use focused attention. Swim in the same direction as the dolphins. Avoid disturbing or changing the course of the dolphin’s behavior by swimming towards them.