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Famed oceanographer Jacques Cousteau claimed no aquarium, however spacious it may be, can duplicate the conditions of the ocean. This becomes abundantly clear for visitors who venture out for a day on the water looking for wild dolphins. The Big Island offers ample opportunity to get up close and personal with these intelligent, magnificent creatures, and also for snorkeling with the abundant and colorful marine life.

One such snorkel spot in Kona is Red Hill—an underwater paradise accessible only by boat. The crystal clear water of the protected marine sanctuary of Red Hill is home to more than 600 species of enchanting ocean wildlife, including spinner dolphins whom often join along side the boat on the way to the snorkel site.

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In the Hawaiian language the name for dolphin is ‘naiʻa.’ There are four different species of dolphins found in the waters surrounding Hawaiʻi. The most common is the Spinner Dolphin, but Bottlenose Dolphins, Spotted Dolphins, and Rough-toothed dolphins also make an occasional appearance.

Dolphins are playful, highly intelligent mammals whom often enjoy interactions with humans. Spinner dolphins, the species most often scouted for on dolphin excursions, seek out sheltered bays to rest from their nightly hunting activity.

The Kona and Kohala Coasts on the west side of Hawaii Island are the best places to encounter dolphins. The weather is almost always cooperative, and the water conditions favorable. It’s not uncommon to run into a pod of Spinner Dolphins while swimming or snorkeling on your own. However, if you want to guarantee your opportunity to see these creatures up close, your best bet is to book a professional tour like Body Glove Hawai’i.

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First-time snorkelers of all ages can learn to confidently snorkel after a fun introductory lesson from Body Glove’s lifeguard-trained crew. Passengers more interested in kicking back and relaxing, can grab a cocktail from the bar and enjoy basking in the sun while smelling the burgers on the barbecue.

Dolphin Watching and Snorkel Adventures aboard Body Glove come complete with a continental breakfast buffet, a BBQ lunch featuring beef burgers (or vegan taro burgers), snacks, sodas, juices, Rx masks, snorkel gear, snorkeling instruction, 2.5 hours water time, and flotation and water toys. There’s also a  20′ water slide, and fresh water showers on board. It’s an experience not soon forgotten!

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