Swimming with dolphins in The Islands of Tahiti is an unforgettable experience. You can dive and swim with these magnificent creatures in several different islands, and you can also observe whales, during the mating season, rays, as well as many species of sharks. Follow our guidelines for a respectful encounter with these treasured wild animals.
Dolphins are a protected species in French Polynesia, which means that they can live in peace, without fear of being harmed by man. Like us, dolphins breathe air and communicate with each other to maintain links within the group. They are also incredibly playful and curious animals. When you observe them, whether with a mask and tuba or on a scuba diving expedition, don’t try to lure them towards you with noises, gestures or scraps of food. Let them decided to come to you, which they will, more often than not. Stay relatively impassive and just enjoy watching them as they swim around you.
Dolphins are highly venerated animals in Polynesian culture, art and folklore. They are often depicted in tattoos and symbolize wisdom. The special relationship between man and dolphins is a cherished part of life in The Islands of Tahiti, and is a major attraction for visitors. The Tuamotu and Society Islands are home to about one third of all the species of dophins that can be found in the world’s oceans.
The best islands for swimming with dolphins
There are many diving excursions and boat trips on the lagoon that specialize in dolphin encounters, during which you can observe these beautiful, elegant creatures living free in their natural habitat. French Polynesia has strict regulations for the protection of marine animals, that were introduced in 2002. They impose restrictions on the conduct and distance of observation particulary of whales, but also of dolphins and other marine species. Your excursion guide will be aware of these rules. Dolphins reside in the waters of The Islands of Tahiti all year round, although certain islands are more frequented than others. The most common species in The Islands of Tahiti are spinner dolphins, rough-toothed dolphins, and pilot whales (which are in fact, dolphins).
The best place of all for observing dolphins in The Islands of Tahiti is Rangiroa in the Tuamotu Islands. It is the world’s secong largest coral atoll, and has an immense lagoon, populated by vast numbers of marine species. Tiputa pass is one of the best sites for diving with dolphins. When divers drop into the water of the pass, they can sometimes hear the excited clicking of dolphins before they even see them. Suddenly, they are all around!
Don’t try to touch them, just look at them as they swim around, looking at you. It makes for a magical, shared experience. You’ll find several dive centers in Rangiroa that can take you diving to meet the dolphins, but you can also watch them without getting into the water at all. Each day, they come to swim and play in the tides in Tiputa pass, and you can watch them enjoying themselves from the shore.
Swimming with dolphins excursions
Be responsible and respectful when you go swimming or diving with dolphins in The Islands of Tahiti. Don’t swim towards them or follow them, let them come to you if and when they decide to, which they invariably will. Remember, these adorable creatures are not the same as the trained dolphins you find in a dolphinarium. They are wild animals, thankfully free to live in peace and harmony and protected from harm.
Of course, if you have an underwater camera, you can take as many photographs of them as you wish. When you go swimming with dolphins, or any other time you’re in the water of the lagoon, please only use eco-friendly su. Do not use creams that contain oxybenzone or octinoxate as these chemicals are toxic for the coral reef.