Wild Side Reviews – Personal, TripAdvisor

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Recent TripAdvisor Reviews


Enchanting boat tour!

Truly an amazing experience. The family got to enjoy a nice ride into the waters off Waianae. Captain Flow took us to turtle rock, where we enjoyed snorkeling along side numerous fish and a few turtles. She then took us out farther to witness the dolphins. My husband jumped in and swam near the numerous dolphins in the the waters, then we began our return and saw more turtles. Overall, this experience was one of the best experiences we have done in our lives. The crew made sure we were safe, and the smaller boat experience was much more personal than than the larger commercial boats. The beautiful waters and the abundance of sea life make you appreciate Oahu’s natural beauty. We couldn’t have asked for a better boat tour the Wild Side Specialty Tours.

Life changing experience

Had a wonderful experience with Captain Flow and Wild Side Specialty Tours. She took our family to spots heaping with sea life. We snorkeled, saw turtles, tons of fish, and the dolphins showed up and gave us a show. The views of the ocean and landscape were just breathtaking. The smaller boat made the experience more personal, and always felt safe. My little girls absolutely had a blast, and will never forget this moment. This gave us a new new appreciation for the beautiful Hawaiian Island of Oahu and its magnificent sea life. This was truly one of the best experiences of my life. Thanks for the memories.

West Side dolphin fun!!

The tour was amazing!! We saw several pods of different types of dolphins, turtles, etc. The small group was very enjoyable compared to big tours,and the boat was extremely stable. The food and pics were amazing!! Ashley our guide was extremely fun and informative. All around amazing trip, definitely going again!!

Life changing

This was the most amazing tour my family and I could ever have hoped for. We happened to be incredibly lucky with what we saw (we snorkeled with 20+ bottlenose dolphins, saw a mama and baby whale and two other whales breach probably 15 times, then a whale shark swim feet away from our boat!) it was a once in a lifetime experience and the staff were so incredibly wonderful and professional to make sure we got everything we needed. This is so worth a little extra money for the small group tour Oahu as well. Special shout out and thanks to captain Mike, Bethany, and Ashley!!!

Nice, personalized snorkeling and whale watching tour.

Nicely low key, with only four of us on the tour and an equal number of crew members. Crew was very friendly and personable; their knowledge of the marine wildlife made the trip that much more interesting and we appreciated their willingness to answer any questions we had. We saw humpback whales, both bottle nose dolphins and spinner dolphins, and sea turtles as well as an eagle ray. Overall, good tour service to go with, definitely recommend!

About Us

Great Tour! Whales, Turtles, Dolphins, More!!!

Great tour! Saw whales within 15 minutes of leaving the port! The whales were very active all day, not to mention a large pod of spinner dolphins swimming right up next to and under the boat! Stopped for sea turtle snorkeling and saw a sea turtle swimming by as well as other sea life! I assume all days are not like this, but we hit the right day! The crew was fantastic! Friendly and knowledgeable! Great having just 6 people on each cruise! It’s great when the crew gets just as excited as the tourists when the whales breach! Lunch was great. All in all this tour was one of the highlights of our stay on Oahu! Highly recommend and will do again!

Best tour on Oahu!

Best tour, staff and the respect for the marine life was unmatched. The morning we went out the visibility was INSANE so you could see all the way to the bottom. Huge plus. We swam with a huge pod of dolphins and the crew taught us to be as quiet and still as possible so the dolphins were comfortable around us, therefore they hung out with us longer than other tours. Lots of sea turtles, too! They even assisted me with a snag (my fault) with my photo/video footage by providing even better photos taken with their own equipment! Such a life saver. I HIGHLY recommend Wild Side Specialty Tours if you’re on Oahu. I will 100% be returning the next chance!

Awesome whales dolphins and turtles

Best tour evah!!! AJ and Ashley were great guides. We were the only tour that afternoon that saw whales!!! We saw the trifecta – whales, spinner dolphins and turtles! The small size – 6 guests – was the best way to go. They were friendly and informative and lunch was great too!! Highly recommend this woman owned tour group.

Exceeded our expectations

My family had an incredible experience with Captain Mike, Captain Flo, and Conner. We had the opportunity to snorkel with the dolphins and witnessed turtles, reef fish, and flying fish. The opportunity to spend time with the crew to learn more about the marine life, island history/mythology, and recommendations for further adventures on tour trip. I would highly endorse this for anyone wanting a more one on one adventure. The crews attention to safety, hospitality, and general knowledge made us all feel safe and attentive to the opportunities to learn and experience. We would absolutely book this adventure again when we return to Hawaii.

Awesome snorkeling in the ocean with spotted dolphins, pygmy killer whales and turtles

We had a phantastic trip with these guys. It was a very well organized tour and a dream came true – swimming with dolphins in the ocean. Wild Side Specialty Tours runs in small groups on a fast but stable boat – this makes the event so much more personalized. We swam with pantropical spotted dolphins in the crystal clear ocean waters, an incredible and adorable experience. At our 2nd spot, we went onto the water with a group of pygmy killer whales, a very rare species. Finally we went to a reef and could see how the green sea turtles were cleaned by a bunch of tropical fish. Thank you so much to the crew for all the insights and the educational and inspiring stories. It was an awesome experience we will never forget.
One more thing to mention – I made a mistake in the booking and we missed our original schedule. Nevertheless we were offered and alternative which was so nice and helpful for us having travelled from Europe, mahalo !

Our snorkeling adventure

I highly recommend this snorkeling adventure!! The captain and crew were wonderful! They made us feel so safe on the boat and in the water, which was a big thing for us! Their safety diver was the first and last person in the water, which really helped calm our nerves. They also followed all the safety regulations which made us happy to see! We got to see lots of wildlife. The crew told us lots of facts about the different animals species found in the waters and were very knowledgeable. In the water, they were pointing out the different species as well. We got to see eels, several turtles, dolphins, a Hawaiian monk seal, and many gorgeous fish that swam right up to you! On the way back they fed us (the food was amazing!!) and gave us refreshments. They truly made us feel like family on the boat. We can’t wait to book with them again for our next snorkeling adventure!

The best experience!!!

This was our favorite experience in Hawaii! Definitely book it! Captain Bryce and his crew were awesome! We saw and swam with Pacific spotted dolphins, false killer whales, green sea turtles, eagle rays, and silky sharks. I also got to touch a small octopus! It was amazing! It’s hard to believe that we had the opportunity to get so close to these organisms and share their habitat! Thank you!

Seriously, don’t hesitate— BOOK THIS!

Hands down, this was the best snorkeling/boat tour I’ve ever been on. It was the highlight of our Hawaii trip, and it was everything we could have asked for and MORE. While these are wild animals so there is no way to predict or ensure of sightings we has such AMAZING luck. But aside from that, there are many ways that set Wild Side apart from every other tour I’ve been on like this (and yes, I’ve been on my fair share). First, the boat/passenger size is small– max of 6. That means expert service and attention and their ability to be a bit flexible to the needs of their group. And boy when I say expert service— they went above and beyond. Most crews are friendly and attentive, sure, but Bryce and Isaiah just went way above and beyond to ensure all of our needs and wants were met. They were funny, personable, and we felt completely safe and in good hands the entire time. They asked questions about people’s comfort levels and were ready to provide assistance in the water if needed. This is a research vessel and so they were both incredibly knowledgeable like our own private wildlife experts. They knew about the behaviors of the animals we were seeing, and even some knowledge on some of the specific ones we encountered. Every moment they seemed as excited as we were, it’s always amazing to encounter people who truly love their jobs and put everything into it. We saw turtles, two species of dolphins, pygmy whales and many fish– many of the animals played right up next to the boat. The crew was so mindful of how we were effecting the wildlife and provided an amazing experience without intruding on the space of the animals. This trip will change how you pick excursions and travel going forward. Is it worth the cost? ABSOLUTELY AND THEN SOME!

Could Not Have Asked For More

This was AMAZING! I don’t even know where to start. The staff was fantastic. Mother nature could not have been more cooperative. We were surprised at the outset that my family of 4 had the boat to ourselves. Bryce spotted spinner dolphins and a turtle right out of the marina – including one dolphin that was only weeks old. We had a cove/reef all to ourselves for snorkeling. The water was warm and crystal clear allowing us to see more turtles, fish, coral, and so much more. The highlight was swimming with the spotted dolphins and pygmy killer whales. There were easily 50-100 dolphins all around. My 7yo and 4 yo will not soon (if ever) forget this trip. It was such a wonderful experience and to see the staff so excited about the experience made it so much more exciting. Thank you so much for the awesome day.

Excellent!!

I took the tour with five other friends/family and the crew and it was a life changing day! I did a simslsr tour 3 years ago and this was a supine experience. We saw dolphins, turtles, pilot whales and birds from the boat. The captain was knowledgeable and entertaining. It was a great day I will never forget. We ended the tour with a tasty lunch too. I would do this tour again.

Highly recommend -Wonderful, educational and welcoming

This was my 3rd trip with wild side specialty tours. It’s like being invited on a friend’s boat. The most recent was last week. We spotted the spinner dolphins from our lanai and were a few minute’s late. They gave us a call to verify we were on our way. On board the boat we were greeted like long time friends and treated that way the entire trip. In the bay right outside the harbor we saw the same pod of dolphins we spotted earlier, educated to their habits, life and health. We also went snorkeling and saw a giant green sea turtle. All in all best experience

Private tour with Wild Side Specialty Tours

We did a private charter for a party of 4 people (me, my 5yr old daughter, grandma and grandpa). The staff were very friendly, accommodating, and very knowledgeable about wildlife in the area. My daughter was very comfortable and had a great time being in the water with Mel. My daughter was also very fortunate to have swam with turtles and a whale shark that day. We saw dolphins too (about 100)! Mel and Bryce are very professional and wonderful. They provided a very personal custom tour/experience to fit our needs. As a side note they provided a light lunch which was excellent! Plus a nice assortment of light snack and drinks. Lastly booking was quick and simple. They even followed up with a phone call. We plan to book again with Wild Side Specialty Tours in November!


The HIGHLIGHT of a wonderful Hawaii vacation!!!
Of all the wonderful experiences we’ve had while visiting Hawaii, our charters with Wild Side rank at the very top! We’ve been fortunate to charter with them twice (Dec 2018 and May 2022) and both trips have been incredibly special for our family. Our most recent charter was with Captain Bryce and Ashlee and they were simply wonderful! The passion, energy and fun they bring to their roles is incredible and they enhance the already spectacular setting of experiencing marine life in their natural environment. It’s evident that they take the experience of each guest personally and our family is grateful to them for being part of the lifelong memories we will carry from our charter! We hope to return someday for Wild Side charter #3!

Perfect morning with Wild Side!

I loved our boat trip! We have never been to Oahu and usually go to Maui/Kauai so I thought it would be a food idea to do a boat tour. It was kind of overwhelming picking a company after looking on trip advisor but I knew we didn’t want to be on a boat with 50 other people and I also loved their stance on ocean conservation. I am SO GLAD we chose wild side! Seriously the best! They were so friendly, just as excited to see wildlife as we were and they were respectful to the wildlife!! They stopped to pick up trash on the way back and I learned a lot. We saw whales, dolphins and sea turtles, then we snorkeled. was just our family of 5 and it was perfect! They also served a great tuna Sammy lunch on the way back. They were very warm and friendly and we will 100% use them again when we return to Oahu!

Personal Testimonies (sent to us)

From: Mandy Talpas <mandy@hawaiibirdtours.com>
Sent: Monday, May 22, 2023 2:01 PM
Subject: Re: Wild Side Pelagic Birding

Mahalo,Laysan Albatross oahu birding tour

Your crew did a great job entertaining, educating and keeping everyone safe. They found some amazing cetaceans and an immense number of birds. It was obvious the breeding season for our Wedge-tailed Shearwaters is in full force with how many we saw out there feeding. The wind didn’t allow us to comfortably go as far out as we’d liked so we didn’t get lucky enough to encounter one of the rarer shearwaters, gadfly petrel or storm-petrel (although it is a little late in the season!). We did see a variety of whales and dolphins! You and your colleagues did a great job last weekend, especially with snorkelers and birders on the same charter. I had a great time with everyone and I look forward to getting out on the water with you all again soon.

Much aloha,

Mandy

Personal Testimonies (sent to us)

From: Traci and Family
Sent: Friday, May 5, 2023 12:37 PM
Subject: Lifetime Memories!

swimming with spotted dolphins in Hawaii

Hello,

We had such a wonderful experience! Our wild dolphin swim has stayed in our top three lifetime experiences. Our daughters were 13 and 7 and I still so appreciate that when we were in the water and I kept pausing my swim to check on them, you all reassured me that you were watching and helping them and I could just focus on the dolphins. Magical!
Traci Romines

Personal Testimonies (sent to us)

From: Diana Williams
Sent: Monday, February 27, 2023 8:09 PM
Subject: Thank you for an amazing trip!

heat run of multiple humpback whales Oahu Hawaii Kaena point in background

We just wanted to say a huge thank you for our amazing experience on the water yesterday (Sunday) afternoon.

We had a fantastic trip – it was such beautiful weather yesterday afternoon, and after seeing some spotted dolphins who put on a lovely display around the boat, we had the most awesome encounter with a whole pod (about 5) of fighting humpbacks right at the end. There was a lot of fin slapping and displaying going on; it was an unforgettable experience.

I know the crew went above and beyond to find some whales for us (we saw a number in the distance but they kept going under!) up close until that point; it’s nature, we understand you can’t order mammals to perform to order!

Dear Tori, Traveling/Hunting Groups Have also been appropriately described as "chorus lines" as animals are oriented in a broad rank of up to 2 miles in width, but only a few animals deep. Subgroups of gender or age-related animals are common. They are quite active and will frequently lobtail, spyhop and approach boats Feeding Groups There may be general movement of whales in a given direction, but individuals tend to remain fairly independent of one another. Loafing Groups 12-30 or more pilot whales in Hawaii, mom and calf underwater individuals, floating at the surface almost stationary, nearly or actually touching one another. A wide variety of types of behavior, including mating and spy-hopping may be seen. Entire pods can sometimes be seen logging, allowing close approach by boats. The strong blow may be visible in calm weather. Our wildlife tours focus on education and conservation so that an interactive relationship can be maintained in the best interest of both humans and dolphins. We teach admiration and deep respect for these wonderful mammals. Below are descriptions of daytime behaviors spinners frequently engage in. Pictures were taken during our dolphin encounter charters. whale watching pilot whalesWild Side's wildlife tours focus on education and conservation so that an interactive relationship can be maintained in the best interest of both humans and dolphins. We strive to foster admiration and deep respect for these wonder-full marine mammals.

My sisters and I just wanted to say thank you again for such a fabulous trip on “Best of the West” last Wednesday. This truly was a trip of a lifetime for us. We are still talking about it. I cannot tell you how much fun we had and how impressed we were with your hospitality and personal care for us while we were on board. Melissa was so patient with me while I was learning how to snorkel and she really went above and beyond. My sister, Ann, said that the dolphin trip was her favorite thing she did while she was visiting. Becky, has been telling all of her friends and neighbors about Wild Side Specialty Tours and how much she enjoyed seeing the Pilot whales and swimming with the dolphins. When you told us your boat’s name was “The Alaka’i” and that it meant “role model”, I just want to tell you that you have definitely lived up to that name. I admire the way you respect the dolphins and ask that your guests also observe them without changing their natural behavior. Thank you again for everything.

Sincerely,
Cindy, Ann, and Becky

It’s been a busy year for us, but I wanted to thank you for the great trip!  You might remember that I was about 30 weeks pregnant at the time.  Our daughter Violette arrived in June and she’s already a water baby!  She likes to “swim” in her baths and loves sea animal toys (especially sea turtles).  We had such a wonderful time on your boat, we can’t wait until she’s old enough to come out on a cruise and experience Hawaii in the special way you have created!   Iswimming with spotted dolphins in Hawaii especially wanted to write because I still think about my experience, almost daily.  Violette’s birth was complicated and ended in an emergency c section.  While in a lot of ways I feel like I missed out on the opportunity to feel the feminine strength of giving birth naturally, I am continually comforted by my experience out in the ocean with the dolphins the day we spent with you.  You might recall that I accidentally ditched my buddies swimming after a pod.  I will always be so proud of myself, swimming in the open ocean, truly at one with nature, my body, and my daughter.  The experience has helped soothe the sting of not being able to have the birth experience I wanted, and I am forever thankful that you helped me find that for myself.

We’ll be back in Hawaii and hope to make another trip out with you!
Sarah Kollars

I’d just like to send a letter of thanks to the crew who took out my 2 aunts and myself. This was the best possible experience of nature I have ever had the chance to encounter. I loved that the crew had a genuine love and knowledge of the creatures we were seeing. I was impressed that an actual marine biologist was there to educate us first and that she allowed us to interact with the dolphins in such a way that was safe for both us and the dolphins and reinforced that loving wildlife doesn’t mean handling wild animals trying to make them your pet.

I didn’t feel like this trip was a bunch of commercialized planned events, and as the things we saw were once in a lifetime. I have always though of myself as a lover of nature and have always felt a great obligation in preserving our ecosystem, but this trip brought about a whole new feeling of joy in all that our world has to offer. Anyone can go to a park and see trained animals doing tricks on the queue of their trainers, but to see nature in its pure form brings a whole new respect for the animals in their natural habitat.

Thanks a million, Melissa Drouse

Severn Suzuki Cullis on the bow, filming Nature Quest in Hawaii

“What, did you want to impress us or something? We had a wonderful, wonderful time. For all of us sailor wannabe’s, we were just too blissed out by our wonderful hosts – who produced sun, wind and even spinner dolphins! Thank you, thank you for a great experience and your patience with a Canadian film crew. Aloha and Mahalo.”
Severn Suzuki-Cullis ~ back when she hosted David Suzuki’s Nature Quest star and was a budding marine biologist @ Yale.

“What a great couple of days! Tori and crew were excellent hosts for our exploration of Makaha. They are not only knowledgeable in regards to sailing, but also are fountains of knowledge about the marine life we encountered. Both the dolphins and the coral were very good to us. Many Thanks Tori! You made our film project a great success. See you again, soon we hope!”
-Janice Cudlip – humanitarian, after-work fun lover, Head Researcher, Associate Producer, Nature Quest Inc., Canada

I saw you and the tour on the Travel Channel the other day, not as good as in person, but awesome nonetheless!! Then in surfing the Hawaii.com site I ran into your website again and thought I should write you about our experiences on your tours. Snorkeling respectful distance from green sea turtle

Nancy and I have taken your tour the last two years we’ve been there and fully intend on at least one tour with you this next month, when we come to the islands again. We’ve taken whale watching tours on most of the islands over the years and yours is far and away the best, and that includes the tours we’ve done on Maui where (they say!) there are more whales than Oahu. We’ve learned so much from you and enjoyed the tour so much we have just naturally assumed you to be part of our every trip! I noticed an afternoon reef snorkel on your site and as we’ll be there most of the month, we will try to add that to the usual tour with you we do.

I’m certain you have all the pictures you could ever want but I’ve attached a couple of our favorites (see turtle photo above). I’ve used them in my screensaver so your tour is seen and remembered every day!

Aloha, and we’ll see you soon, Dennis Katsis and Nancy Dunn


the travel mom“THANK YOU for showing me something new and different. After all of this time doing what I do, it takes a lot to knock my socks off and you guys did! My family and I will be back your way in April and hopefully I can share this amazing experience with my kids.”

Emily Kaufman, – (a.k.a. the “Travel Mom”, has traveled the world with her husband and two children. You can find her “Destination of the Week” pick on her web site, and get more of her advice as segment hostess for CNN, MSNBC, CBS, Discovery, FOX and NBC and Orbitz”

“Just a quick note to say mahalo for allowing me to be a part of the group Friday. I’ve traveled extensively with promoting Oahu as a destination and we always talk about the Wild Side dolphin excursion. Now having actually experienced the activity, you can bet my descriptions are going to be more enthusiastic and engaging. No one who goes out on the sail and gets into the water with the dolphins can be unaffected by such a wonderful and awesome experience. Seeing the animals up close and hearing their clicks and squeaks is truly a gift. Your sail is first class and I look forward to helping promote it in a more meaningful way now that I’ve had a first-person experience.”

Nancy Daniels, Public Relations Manager ; Outrigger Hotels & Resorts/OHANA Hotels & Resorts


Dale Hope aloha shirt

“Tori, Many thanks for an enjoyable day on the West Side. You have a great operation and its great to know that visitors and local people can go with you and have such a rewarding experience. It truly was a memorable day for us all. Mahalo Nui and Aloha, Dale Hope
Note: Dale is a local long board champion surfer/paddler and author of “The Aloha Shirt”


Bobbie Sandoz“Dear Tori, I want to thank you for such a wonderful day with the dolphins. Your energies, added to the ones we brought along made for a perfect combination. With my thanks again…and much aloha to you both … Bobbie Sandoz, author of Listening to Wild Dolphins and In the Presence of High Beings based on her ten-year friendship with dolphins and whales.


AshleyDear Tori,
We just wanted to thank you again for the wonderful sailing experience on March 13th. That day was most certainly the highlight of our trip! Fred is still talking about getting to sail. Ashley is, of course, still talking about all the neat fish and turtle and eel she saw swimming around the reef. Even little Annie is still talking about the dolphins coming over to say hello to her. A great time was had by all of us and you can definitely expect to see us again for another Oahu nature tour. We plan to visit some of the other islands in the future, but decided we would definitely stop in Oahu a day or two just so we can sail again with you–next time we’ll plan for a whole day of sailing.
Thanks again,
Julie and Joe (Ashley and Annie)

“Thanks for the wonderful sail, birds, and conversation. May your good hearts and dedication to the creatures of the islands carry you far. So nice to spend such a great day with fellow earth stewards! Mahalo!”
Cedar Wells, birding enthusiast, former white water rafting guide, water resource steward in Olympia, Washington