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Monday, February 1, 2010

Dolphins in Hawaii - A Hawaii Big Island Dolphin Story

Dear Hawaii vacation lovers,
Remember the 'mantra' we have about our Best Hawaii Vacation blog? It's all about sharing our love with Hawaii and its people with Hawaii visitors. It's those unique Hawaii stories which we hope will awaken your curiosity about the Hawaiian Islands, ancient Hawaii culture of its people and flora and fauna.

So meet a new Best Hawaii Vacation blog guest author today: Lisa Weber! Lisa lived in Hawaii for 14 years, mostly in Puna and Hilo on the Big Island. She traveled extensively with her family to every island of Hawaii and talks about her trips on her site andHawaii.com, exploring every beach and waterfall and cool-sunset-viewing-spot she could find. Here is Lisa's story about her personal encounter with wild dolphins in Hawaii:

Kayaking with Dolphins, On Their Terms - A Big Island of Hawaii Story

"Let me tell you a story about one of the most awesome experiences of my life. It happened in 1998 or 1999 at a deserted cove on the Big Island of Hawaii.My husband and I were camping. We had a four wheel drive and we liked to explore the island, so we undertook a several mile trek over old lava from Highway 11 to the ocean on a lava road in the area of Manuka in Kau.
Now, when I say road, I actually mean crudely-beaten-down-path. Basically, there was a huge field of lava, and over several years, slightly-crazy people in lifted, beaten-up 4 wheel drives drove on this lava field to the ocean, taking the way that looked the easiest, and eventually a sort of path was visible to the eye. I know we contributed to the beating down of the path with the bottom of our jeep several times as we bounced and scraped.

So, at the bottom, we had the area all to ourselves. There was a rocky cove area that will probably be a nice beach in a few hundred years, a very large heiau (ancient Hawaiian temple), and a nice grove of Kiawe trees over to the left that made shade for a campsite. This is where we set up, but we had to be careful because Kiawe thorns on the ground were big enough and sharp enough to go through the sole of any tennis shoe or slipper.

Shortly after we set up the campground, we took down the kayak from the top of the jeep and launched it into the water. As soon as we were about 20 feet away from shore we were suddenly surrounded by dolphins. They came from nowhere and literally surrounded us. They were everywhere. My husband and I were actually a little scared, not because they were aggressive, but because they were sooo energetic, and most of their energy seemed focused right on us. This was our first close-up experience with dolphins in the ocean and we weren't sure what to expect.

Imagine ... there were 15 to 25 dolphins, and they were surrounding us. They were obviously Hawaiian Spinner dolphins because several of them jumped out of the water and spun straight up, 5 or 6 feet up in the air. They would dart beneath the kayak, then spin jump up on the other side, and splash us as they came down, then they would turn around and dart beneath us again, and do it again on the other side.

Wild dolphins in Hawaii watched from a boat in Molokai
There were two babies in the group that we saw, and the babies would try to jump like the adults, but they didn't have the strength or ability yet, because they would only make it about a foot or two out of the water before splashing back down on their sides. They were very cute, and absolutely wonderful, these baby steps ... or baby jumps.

So, this went on for about 15 minutes, and then the pod made their way out of the cove. It's like they came cruising past the cove, saw us, and said to each other something like "let's go show off," or "let's go say hi." Sometimes I like to think that they were introducing the baby dolphins in the pod to humans, saying "these are humans, that's what they look like, they get all excited when they see us. They are mostly good and fine, just use good judgement about whether to get close to them or not.

We had a camera with us, but it was one of the first digital cameras ever, or maybe one of the first ones we could afford, so it didn't take very good pictures, and we forgot to take pictures for the first 10 to 15 minutes anyway. We just floated there with our mouth open saying "oh my gosh!" "look at that!" "Did you see that?!" "ooooooohhhhh!" "amazing!" and other more colorful things.

One of Lisa's Hawaii dolphin photos
It was truly an amazing and awe-inspiring experience that I will never, ever forget. We talked about it long into the night, trying to sustain that feeling of awe and wonder for as long as possible."

Much mahalo, Lisa, for this wonderful Hawaii dolphin story. To everybody of our Hawaii visitors who is wondering whether they can still experience such an encounter with the dolphins today, we say 'Yes, you can'! Maybe not with the first try but with the right preparation, patience, commitment and the right place, our unique Hawaii nature is at your finger tips. Hawaii is full of wonders, like our wild dolphins, waiting to be discovered by you on your Hawaii vacation! Aloha, Pua Hawaii Vacations
We invite everybody who wants to read more unique articles about Hawaii to visit this month's Carnival of Aloha put together by Evelyn from HomespunHonolulu.com: from 'A Love Letter to Lanai' to 'President Obama's vacation home at Kailua Beach on Oahu and much more.

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