Many people dream of swimming with dolphins in the beautiful blue ocean. Dolphins are extremely social and gentle to humans. Imagine gliding along with or side-by-side with these gentle creatures. Stop dreaming and start planning. There are many dolphin watching destinations available to those who want to have the experience of a lifetime. Here are the top 5 destinations to swim with dolphins around the world.
1. Akaroa, New Zealand
Akaroa is one of the best places in the world for a wild dolphin swim because you will find large pods of Dusky dolphins there virtually all year round and it's rare for any of the dolphin expedition boats to come back without finding them.
The abundance of marine life is due to the nutrients in the water - a result of the1200 metre deep trench that occurs just off the coast of Kaikoura - so it's not rare to see whales on a dolphin swimming trip too. In Akaroa harbor you will get to spend some time with the Hectors dolphin and your chances of swimming with them are pretty good because they inhabit the inner harbor daily during the summer months and the outer harbor during winter.
2. Oahu and Kona, Hawaii
On a swim with dolphins in Hawaii tour you are most likely to come across spinner and spotted dolphin and some tour operators boast a 99% success rate of finding these amazing marine creatures on day excursions. The Hawaiian name for dolphin is nai'a, and refers to most all dolphins found here. With 13 species of toothed dolphins swimming in the warm waters of Hawaii, the most common are: the Hawaiian spinner, spotted, bottlenose and rough-toothed dolphins. Other often seen members of the dolphin family are pilot and false killer whales.
In certain areas in Hawaii, spinner dolphins are seen on an almost daily basis. So called for their high, spinning leaps, spinner dolphins are known as playful, eager bow-riders throughout much of their range. It is thought that since the islands have formed, the Hawaiian spinner dolphins have regularly come into shore along the west coast of Oahu.
3. Azores Archipelago
The Azores provide one of the best habitats in the world for marine mammals as more than 24 species (25% of the world's known species) have been identified off the coast. The Islands provide a natural sanctuary in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean for both migrating and resident species. The Azores has the biggest variety of dolphin of any area worldwide and it's possible to find eight different species if you are lucky.
Super pods of up to 1000 individuals can be seen too as they come close to the shores of the island to take advantage of the plentiful food supply. Azores is a fabulous wild dolphin swim destination.
4. Bimini, Bahamas
Bimini is the closest Bahamian island to the US, only 48 miles east of Miami and a short 25-minute flight. Alice Town is the commercial centre of Bimini. Bimini is blessed with very warm, shallow and clear waters, allowing travellers to interact with the Atlantic spotted dolphins which abound. Atlantic Spotted Dolphins are fun loving, intelligent, friendly, and playful. The wild spotted dolphins of Little Bahama Bank like to swim side by side with humans.
The average human encounter with dolphins can last from a few minutes to several hours each. The relationship is voluntary based on trust, play, and curiosity. Very active snorkeling and free diving are good ways to keep their attention.
5. The Red Sea
The Red Sea is a very good place to swim with spinner and bottlenose dolphins. Some tour operators report an 80% dolphin swim success rate over the past three years. There are four species often seen in the Red Sea - common dolphins, bottlenose, spinners and the shy Risso's dolphin. Dolphins can be observed all year round and there is a good chance you will see them from your boat wherever you go.
The best sites to swim with dolphins are Samadaii in Marsa Alam. Dolphins are sighted all year round in the lagoon and can be seen mating in May. At Sha'ab Ali you can snorkel in the lagoon at sunset and stand a good chance of being joined by an inquisitive school of bottlenoses.
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