Swimming with the Dolphins

CONTRIBUTED BY DANIELA WELBORN

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Alright, we did it!  We gave in and paid the money…and….it was totally worth it!!!!  Today was our anniversary and since we been together for some time now we don’t do the jewelry/flowers/chocolate/dinner thing. Well, we still do the dinner thing, but not today.

So, here is the deal.

OMRC Dolphin program has different programs throughout the day. If you are not a guest of the hotel you can not make a reservation ahead of time. You have to come on the day you want to do the program you chose and hope for the best.

Today was our lucky day. We picked the “Into the Blue” program.  You get wet suits, booties, mask, and snorkel. We chose to bring our own wet suit and booties.  If you don’t speak Japanese it’s okay. Everybody will try to do their best to translate. We had a lady in our group that did most of that.  Then you get a lecture on dolphins, you practice snorkeling, and off you go.

The trainer will teach you commands and then you execute them and the dolphin will do as you say. This is very much fun as you get to interact real close with it.  This takes about 30-45 minutes. All the while people are taking pictures that you can purchase later. The “finale” is when you snorkel across the lagoon and the dolphin is swimming with you.

I was just a tiny bit disappointed, because I thought we were going to do the “holding on to the fin swim”, but come to find out it is a different program. This program states for “Japanese speakers only”, but I inquired and even if you don’t speak it you can still do it. You will just miss out on a big part of the lectures.
All in all it was very fun.

All this is happening at the Renaissance Hotel north of Yomitan. We paid 10.000 yen per person. The real shocker came when we bought 4 pictures and paid 52,-. Note to self, a set in Japanese means 1 picture not 2!  There are different programs that accommodate different age groups. So, even if your kids are small there is still a program for them to have fun with a dolphin.

Then there is the issue of “should a dolphin be in captivity….” Well, as far as I understood it “our” dolphin was rescued after she was bitten by a shark. The scars were visible when we were petting her and that is how I found out. Then they have a breeding program for spotted dolphins which is the only one in Japan. I have mixed feelings about it, but the atmosphere was great and the dolphin seemed to have fun.  Kind of like my dog when I walk her, if that makes sense.

Phone:  098-965-5629.  To email for help in English:  [email protected]

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8 COMMENTS

  1. Lol these dolphins where probably hunted into the taiji cove , sufferers a great deal (hence the scarring!) witnessed the death and there family. then trained to do this for entertainment. Its so so common in japan! Its Disgusting!

    • Your so right Kirsty, its sad how people don’t realize just what these animals have been through to be a captive in Japan, its all just so they can make money from tourists that want to be entertained at the cost of their happiness and quality of life, yes its absolutely disgusting, selfish, greedy and cruel!

  2. i know the question about turtles was years back, but maybe this will help someone now. i found this blurb while looking for info on the whale watching tours:
    Yoronto Island (23 kilometers from Okinawa) is small island know for its sea turtles, traditional sweets, salt industry and thatch-roof folk village. The island is very remote and quiet. The people that lived here were known for being self sufficient and producing all their own things until the 1960s. The best turtle spotting place is a five minute boat ride from Chaban Port. It is not uncommon to a dozen different turtle in one dive. The turtles like t to come to this spot to sleep.

  3. I read in Oki Living (July, p6) a little blurb about the Marine Piazza dolphin park… anyone have more info about this or directions? My husband and I were planning on swimming with the dolphins at the Renaissance sometime next month and wanted to compare. Thanks!

  4. Happy Anniversary Daniela, what a creative way to celebrate those many years together! This looks like something my kids would love to do while we’re here. Thanks for all the info.

  5. We did the Hello Dolphin program a couple of years ago when my eldest was 18 months old. I thought it would be a fun experience for him but he was scared as heck to get so up close and personal.

    I actually called the evening before the office closed to find out if the program was all booked up with hotel guests. Even though I was not able to make a reservation at least I knew that the slot I wanted was not completely full and we would be more likely to get in when we showed up in the morning. Not everyone there speaks English but it’s worth a try if you know some Japanese or are lucky enough to get someone who does.

    Now that it’s been two years we may have to try this again! Hopefully he’ll be more excited about it this time around!

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