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Hawaiian Bottlenose Dolphins

Come out on one of our Kauai boat tours and see Flipper! Okay, maybe not the actual Flipper but yes– bottlenose dolphins live here, or as is said in Hawaiian, nai’a lives here.

You know bottlenose dolphins, with their characteristic “smiles.” They use tools, categorize objects, recognize themselves, pass down knowledge and traditions through generations, serve in the military, help fishermen—what aren’t they capable of?

Kauai dolphin tours

Bottlenose dolphins can reach 13 feet in length and the average individual weighs more than 600 pounds. “Clicking” is their own style of sonar and echolocation they use to search for food, and dolphins are constantly communicating through squeaks, whistles, and body language. When we see them leaping out of the water, snapping jaws, slapping their tails on the surface of the water, or butting heads, you know they got something to say!

Bottlenose dolphins are fast swimmers, reaching peak speeds of 21 miles per hour, and sometimes they like to swim with the boats!  Yes, often on our tours, a pod of dolphins (any species) will find us and swim alongside the hulls of Holo Holo, Leila, Adventurer II, and Adventurer III. They’ll sometimes spend ten minutes or more swimming and leaping and surfing the waves the boats are creating; it’s the BEST.

That said, we want to make clear that as part of our voluntary participation in the NOAA-sponsored Dolphin Smart Program, it’s our policy as tour boat operators to never chase dolphins or any wildlife. We see dolphins almost every time we go out, but never harass them in order to fulfill any “guarantees.” If they want to come to swim with us, they’re more than welcome to, but you’ll never see a Holo Holo Charters boat hunting them down.

Research by the Cascadia Research Group has suggested that the Kauai and Niihau bottlenose populations are unique in that they don’t travel to the other islands. They like it here! Let’s keep it that way.