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Swimming With the Dolphins at the Hilton Waikoloa – Mahalo Dolphin Quest!

Last week I took my wife and her two sisters along with the kids on a mini staycation at the Hilton Waikoloa Resort.  I normally go twice a year and it’s always a special treat going there for my ohana.  This  time it was even extra special as the kids got to go swim with the dolphins at Dolphin Quest Hawaii.

The kids getting a special showing of the dolphins

We met up at 8:15 at the Dolphin Quest Village where the kids were suited up with life jackets while the adults cruised around in the lobby.  After releases were signed and a short informational set of instructions from the Dolphin Quest Trainers the kids went off for an adventure of a lifetime!

I had an opportunity to interview General Manager Adrea Gibbs and this is what she had to say about her job:


I had an opportunity to talk to Regional Sales & Marketing Manager Mark DiMartino and he talked about how much he loved his job and working with the dolphins in general.

DiMartino mentioned that dolphins are similar to humans in a sense and that the dolphins are never forced to work with people and some days a dolphin will be in a bad mood just like a person would be and they simply let the dolphins be that day.

The kids played with Noelani and Pele that day

DiMartino also mentioned that each dolphin only interacts with people for a maximum of 90 minutes each day and that they rotate the dolphins through-out the day to accommodate breaks for the dolphins.

At first I was a bit worried because normally for the package that they gave us the kids have to be at least 10 years old and my son was only 8 years old… but they made an exception for him and as you can see… he absolutely had a blast!

About Dolphin Quest:

Dolphin Quest opened in 1988, creating a place where people and dolphins could share the wonder of close personal interaction.

Today, Dolphin Quest is an international organization devoted to the public education and conservation of marine wildlife. We are world-renowned for our creative approach to education, commitment to ocean wildlife research, exemplary animal health care and successful breeding programs. Our innovative encounter programs promote a spirit of connection to the marvels of the oceans.

Dolphin Quest has attracted talented individuals from all around the globe to be part of our unique organization. Our team includes some of the world’s finest dolphin behaviorists, trainers, veterinarians and guest service staff. Working together, we provide nurturing environments, quality health care, and state-of-the-art husbandry practices for the dolphins, while our guest services strive to offer the best customer attention in the world.

Mahalo to both the Hilton Waikoloa and Dolphin Quest for providing my ohana with a once in a life time experience.

Coming Up – Turtle Independence Day

This July 4 come celebrate the 23rd annual Turtle Independence Day at The Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows – a FREE community celebration that sees Hawaiian green sea turtles (Honu), an identified threatened species, released into the freedom of the open ocean in the form of a traditional Hawaiian ceremony.

The sea turtle is the only indigenous reptile of Hawaii , evolving some 180 million years ago, and has become a significant symbol of the Islands .  It represents longevity, safety and Mana (spiritual energy) and Native Hawaiians consider it the bearer of good luck and peace.

Since 1989 Mauna Lani Bay has received 3-5 month old juvenile Honu from Oahu’s Sea Life Park and has raised them in the saltwater ponds of the resort.  The Honu are raised for 2-3 years and attentively cared for until they grow to a size and weight that is classified as healthy for release into the ocean.

More than 200 Honu have been released into the pristine waters in front of the resort since the program’s inception.

While Turtle Independence Day is fun-filled day for the whole family, it’s also an opportunity to raise awareness of the need to preserve and protect the Honu through education in the spirit of aloha.

As part of the day’s activities, guests can also enjoy an educational display about the Honu and a BBQ with classic July 4 fare showcasing Hawaii Island grown produce.

Year-round, Mauna Lani Bay offers its famous complimentary Fishing Feeding Tour to its guests where you can learn more about the Honu and the 85 different fish species cared for in the resort’s ponds.

Make the most of the holiday and stay at Mauna Lani Bay by taking advantage of the resort’s special rates and discounts. Visit www.maunalani.com or call 800-367-2323.

WHAT:  Turtle Independence Day Celebration and July 4 BBQ

WHEN: Wednesday, July 4, 2012

BBQ from 9.30 am – 12 noon. Honu celebration from 10:30 am – 12 noon

WHERE: Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows, 68-1400 Mauna Lani Drive, Kohala Coast, Hawaii Island

COST: Turtle Independence Day is FREE. Individual menu prices for July 4 BBQ.

Special commemorative Turtle Independence Day t-shirts available for sale