Photos 7, page 28
Boating w Ray (dolphins!)
March 20, 2011
me that they were going out in Ray's boat.  By 9:00 I was on the road with all my snorkel and swim stuff...  The white line is
my trip over, the red line my trip back.  Those are the only two ways to go unless I want to all the way up and around.  The
problem is, there are these two really, really big volcanoes in the way.  So you have to go around.  For the boat, the green
line was our trip out, hugging the coast, trolling for a certain kind of fish.  The magenta line is our trip back, trolling for
another kind of fish (you can see the loop we did when we got a strike but then it got away).
On the way out, we stopped at "Dolphins" to snorkel with the dolphins which were swimming
around the bay.  I went in the water with my snorkel stuff on and floated.  The depth was over
100 feet deep and I could see in the diminishing light at least 50 spinner dolphins, ranging On
the way back in, we encountered more than a hundred of them as they started to wake up and
head out to sea to feed.  You can see from the squiggly magenta line where we went to follow
Pulling into Kealakekua Bay, we
spotted a paraglider.  See the church
on the right?  And the brown building
left of that?  Up from there, in about
the middle of the picture is an orange
paraglider just to the right of a house
with a green roof.
You can see him better against the
sky...  No zoom.
Zoom 24X
1200mm equivalent
Pretty cool, huh?
He's got a friend...

Zoom.  See?
We came across this rather
raw-looking rock formation.  We
wondered if it had been exposed by
the tsunami that hit this side of the
island on Mar. 11.
The gruesome twosome:  Ray & Robin.
 Their friendship goes back to when
they were in high school...
Robin enjoying the sun.  We're a little bit chilly from swimming.
4:59:42 PM
There's one!
4:59:43 PM
4:59:52 PM
This one jumped right next to the boat.
 Typically, all I got was the splash...!
4:57:06 PM
On the way back in, we encountered
some dolphins...

4:57:23 PM
I don't know if you can see him under
the water....
5:03:37 PM
cropped and zoomed -->
5:04:48 PM
5:04:48 PM
cropped and zoomed -->
5:04:48 PM
5:04:50 PM
5:05:49 PM
I've got lots of these!
5:08:45 PM
5:08:47 PM
5:10:23 PM
Ellen & Robin keeping a lookout...
5:10:56 PM
5:14:30 PM
5:14:32 PM
5:17:57 PM
5:18:34 PM
They were all around us, near and far.  
I was jumping around the boat like a
there!", "That way!", "Slow down!",
"Left!", "Right!", all at once.  You can
hear the dolphins breathing and
splashing near the boat, almost within
reach.  The only way to get pictures
was to aim at a general area and hold
the button down...

The Spinner Dolphin (Stenella longirostris) is a small dolphin found in off-shore tropical waters around the world. It is famous
for its acrobatic displays in which they spin longitudinally along their axis as they leap through the air.

The Spinner Dolphin is usually dark gray, with darker patches in the tail stock, back and throat. Usually it has a creamy-white
patch on the belly, though this varies considerably. Their beaks are distinctively long and thin, with a dark tip. The fins, also, are
lengthy for dolphins of this size. The dorsal fin is erect and leans forward in older males found in the Eastern Pacific Ocean.
Spinner Dolphins are the most variable in form of all cetaceans.

Adults vary in length from 129–235 centimetres (51–93 in) and weight from 23–78 kilograms (51–170 lb). Gestation requires
about 10 months. Females reach maturity at four to seven years. Males require seven to ten years. Their longevity is unknown.

They often ride boats' bow-waves.

Dolphin echolocate and communicate using click-whistles and pulsed sounds. Echolocation enables dolphins to track objects in
dim or dark water and to, in effect, see much further than their eyes will allow. Their complex array of whistle sounds allow
dolphins to talk to one another. Spinners can identify themselves with sounds they make by trailing bubbles from their
blowholes—sounds called signature whistles.

Spinner dolphins also communicate by slapping the water with various body parts. For instance, “nose-outs” occur when the
beak is thrust above the surface. This action is common when the pod is emerging from a rest period. Tail slaps often indicate
impending danger or indicate a dive. Head slaps, side slaps, and back slaps are most frequently seen as the pod accelerates.
Last, and most spectacular, are the spins themselves. Many animals spin repeatedly, with each spin tending to get smaller and
smaller, finishing with an emphatic side slap.

The power of the spin can pick up through their echolocation—may be the real purpose of the spin.

Spinner dolphins maximize their splash by twisting around to land in a belly-flop, or back-flop. Spins are most frequently
performed while the school is spread out across the water. A spinning dolphin may be signaling to the others: "here I am. . . . here
is where I am going. . . " The effect of many dolphins spinning and leaping at once, defines the envelope of the pod—that is, its
size, direction, and speed of travel.

Dolphins hunt mostly at night as the “scattering layer” of marine life, which has spent the day at depths of 3,000 feet (910 m),
rises toward the surface to feed on plankton. They eat fish, jellyfish, krill, squid, shell-less snails, as well as copepods. Before
diving into the layer, the pod assembles, possibly to protect themselves from other predators who feed there, such as sharks,
which are natural dolphin predators. The spinners form small subgroups and spread out across the sea. Time after time, the
dolphins dive into the utter darkness at 800 feet (240 m) or more. They use their teeth to grasp and immobilize their prey rather
than to chew.

Spread across miles of water, the school coordinates its activities through sound—and through spinning—which can reach an
explosive crescendo in the darkness. Echolocating pod-mates, spinners can use their whistles to unite with others for defense. By
dawn, the spinners regroup and eating stops. They likely will shelter during the day near shore.

Spinner Dolphins have been studied both in the wild and in captivity in Hawaii. Spinner dolphins in Hawaii can expect multiple
daily visits to their nearshore resting grounds. The Big Island, Hawaii on the Kona Coast is a popular area for Spinner Dolphins.
Boats take people out daily to snorkel and interact with the local dolphin population. All boats and crew have very protective
and respectful attitude towards these dolphins. Spinner dolphins are amazingly intelligent and this is one of the few places
worldwide where you can swim and interact with these dolphins in their natural habitat.
So the way I figure it, they were just waking up and heading out to feed when we came across them.  During
the day they are sleeping and resting in the bay.  So it seems that the best time to see them/swim with them
would be in the mornings and later in the afternoon.  Got that?  So the next time you're at
Pu'uhonua O
, you'll know what to do!

Relative size
Cropped and zoomed