Update: please note that we had this encounter and wrote this article prior to being educated on dolphin behavior. We would never attempt to swim with dolphins in the ocean again as we have learned that when the dolphins come into the bay in the daytime, they’re there to rest.
If you’ve ever wanted to swim with dolphins in open water, you’ll have an excellent chance of doing just that when you visit Lana’i’s beautiful Hulopoe Beach. Pods of spinner dolphins come to the protected bay waters almost daily and often several times each day.
While relaxing on the sand and soaking up the soothing sounds of the waves crashing at Hulopoe Beach, Andy and I admired the dolphins as they frolicked in the bay. We observed other visitors swimming out towards the dolphins and allowing them to swim past. These visitors would come back to the shore shrieking with excitement from the experience.
You know that I’ve confessed many times that I’m a big chicken in the sea. As I observed others having so much fun swimming with the dolphins, I wanted to join in the fun, but I was having to work up my nerve. Eventually, I became brave enough to give it a try. After picking up snorkel gear, I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and dove it the water.
While trying to work up the nerve to get in the water, I must have wasted too much time. We swam out towards the area where we had seen dolphins, but we must have been too late to the party. Alas, they were gone!
With our snorkel masks on, Andy and I swam side by side while pointing out beautiful fish. We came across a large section of a sandy bottom and didn’t see any fish for a while. That was until I spotted a six-foot shark hovering on the bottom approximately 10 feet away. I still don’t know how I reacted so calmly, but I tapped Andy on the arm and pointed to the shark. Though I was freaking out inside, I was remaining calm on the outside. Without even stopping to discuss the situation, Andy and I immediately began to swim back to shore.
The shark didn’t even seem to notice us and definitely didn’t bother us. In a way, I’m glad that happened. One of my fears of snorkeling is encountering a shark. Now that I met the fear and it was such a non-issue, I think I’ll feel a bit more confident the next time I snorkel.
Have you had any shark encounters while snorkeling in Hawaii?
This post is part of a series of Hawaii vacation mishaps. See the entire collection of our misadventure chronicles.