Tag Archives: Dolphins

More spinner dolphin photos

Three spinner dolphins catch the light as they cruise through the water.
A trio of spinner dolphins diving past me.

This is a follow up to yesterday’s post about swimming with dolphins. Within a few months of moving to the Big Island I got to swim with dolphins. A large pod moved into the bay near where I was living and stayed for several hours. Swimming with them was great, but at that time, I didn’t have an underwater camera.

Since then, I’ve mostly seen dolphins from the shore, or just zipping by far enough away that I get a glimpse, but not much more. Several times dolphins have been around just before I get in the water, or just after I got out, or they’ve hung around in the bay on a day I didn’t swim at all.

Last week, several dolphins showed up just after I’d got out, but since they seemed like they might hang around, I got back in and swam out. By the time I got to the place they’d been, I saw them heading south. Four days ago, a small group of dolphins swam by, not far from where I was, without stopping. I got one not-very-good photo.

Three days ago, my wife and I were just preparing to get in when she saw dolphins. They were heading south, but not at speed. Then they seemed to pause. A couple twirled out of the water – spinner dolphins. Perhaps they were going to hang around. We got in the water and headed out.

From the water, it’s harder to spot dolphins unless they’re jumping. When I stopped to look, I couldn’t find them again. When I did, they appeared to be receding. I swam some more, looked up again, and saw dorsal fins. They were heading our way. I ducked my head underwater and got my camera ready. Moments later a group of 10 or more spinners emerged from the hazy water, got rapidly larger, and then passed by on either side of me. They kept going deeper into the bay and I turned to follow. I heard my wife shout and turned in time to see another group go by.

There’s no point chasing dolphins, and it’s not something anyone should do anyway. I’m not a fan of ‘swim with the dolphins’ tours, where they chase them and then dump a bunch of people into the water to get up close and personal. But when they hang around an area, I hang around too in the hope that they’ll come over to check me out. These dolphins did. The next few minutes were a whirlwind of dolphins passing, circling, diving, and occasionally jumping. In close proximity, their size and power was clear, as well as their intelligence and curiosity.

But then, as quickly as they’d arrived, they headed out to sea. The whole encounter was probably no more than 10 minutes, but it’s one I won’t forget, and when I got home I was thrilled that I’d captured several good images.

A spinner dolphin and snorkeler. There were four dolphins making circles around my wife for a short while.
A small group of spinner dolphins swims over sand and coral.

Swimming with dolphins

This is the final day of Becky’s July Squares challenge theme of ‘Perspective.’ See more responses here.

I was planning on posting images relating to the final days of people who were human sacrifices on the island, a long time ago in case you’re wondering. But I changed my mind after an encounter with a pod of spinner dolphins a couple of days ago. I’ll post more photos tomorrow, but here are a couple to start with.

The top photo shows one of the dolphins coming over to check me out. In the bottom one, a group of dolphins cruises by below me. From my perspective, there are few finer things in life than such an encounter.

Spinner dolphins

Not long after I moved to Hawaii I was lucky enough to swim with a large pod of dolphins. They hung around the bay where I was for most of the day and, when I was in the water, swam around me with some curiosity. Back then I didn’t have a waterproof camera so didn’t get any photos.

Since then, I’ve seen dolphins from shore, but never got to swim with them again until recently. Then I encountered them twice within a couple of weeks. The first time I caught the tail end of a pod heading south along the coast. The second time I saw them a bit earlier, also heading south at speed and with purpose.

The water was murky so I didn’t get good photos, but since this is the first in-the-water photo of any kind that I’ve got of dolphins, I thought I’d post it anyway. Even though the pod passed without interacting with me, it was still a great moment to see them whizzing by with such grace and power.

Spinner dolphins

Spinner dolphin leap

Spinner dolphin leapingOn a recent walk I noticed some disturbance in the water not far offshore and was happy to see a school of 15 to 20 spinner dolphins. I thought they were headed south and set out to follow them from shore. Then they turned around and went north again. I followed. This happened several times, so I just sat down and watched while they tried to make up their minds.

Spinner dolphins get their name from the twirls they make when they leap from the water. It’s thought this activity helps dolphins know where others in the school are because the bubbles generated by their takeoff and return to the water are a good target for their echolocation.

Posted in response to this week’s Sunday Stills challenge on the theme of ‘Back to School’ (Yes, it’s a stretch!). See more responses here.

Spinner dolphins