Tag Archives: Dolphins

Spinner Dolphins zipping by

Spinner dolphins off the coast of Hawaii

We have had a seemingly endless stream of swells rolling in from the west, west-northwest, northwest, and north. What they all have in common is that they make snorkeling miserable here. The water gets churned up, reducing visibility to near zero, and getting in and out can be an adventure.

A few days ago, there was a gap between the incoming swells, allowing the water to settle a little and visibility to improve. And, luckily, that was a day that a pod of Spinner Dolphins went by.

I had stopped swimming for a moment and popped my head up to look around when I saw fins arching through the water towards me. This pod of 20 or 30 dolphins was just passing through, but I was happy to snap a few photos, of which these were the best two.

The visibility still wasn’t great, but any dolphin encounter is a moment to be treasured.

Spinner dolphins off the coast of Hawaii

Favorites from 2022

Surf crashes ashore on the North Kohala coast in Hawaii
January: High surf crashes ashore in North Kohala. (link)

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Your 2022 Year-in-Review.’ See more responses here. Like last year, I’ve gone with a favorite photo from each month of 2021, with a caption and link to the post the photo first appeared in.

A Common Waxbill feeds on cane grass seeds
February: A Common Waxbill grabs a mouthful of seeds. (link)
A Monarch butterfly on purple bougainvillea flowers
March: A Monarch Butterfly on a bougainvillea. (link)
A Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle swims by
April: A Green Turtle swims by. (link)
Three cats resting in Hawaii
May: A trio of cats hard at work! (link)
A photo of an owl in a car wing mirror
June: How to keep birds off your car. (link)
A view of Green sand beach (Papakōlea) on the Big Island, Hawaii
July: The green sand beach near South Point. (link)
A white-tailed tropicbird flying over North Kohala, Hawaii
August: A White-tailed Tropicbird glides by. (link)
A Black-crowned night heron struggles o get out of an algae covered pond
September: A Black-crowned Night Heron struggles to get out of a pond. (link)
A Spinner dolphin leaps from the waters off Hawaii
October: A Spinner Dolphin leaps from the water off North Kohala. (link)
Two manta rays in the waters off Hawaii
November: A pair of Manta Rays swims toward me. (link)
A cloud forms over the site of the eruption on Mauna Loa , Hawaii
December: Mauna Loa erupted for the first time in 40 years, capturing attention and changing the weather. (link)

Walking with dolphins

A Spinner dolphin leaps from the waters off Hawaii
A Spinner dolphin leaps from the waters off Hawaii
A Spinner dolphin leaps from the waters off Hawaii

Wait a minute, I hear you say, isn’t that supposed to be swimming with dolphins? Usually yes, but in this case, I was walking along the coast when I noticed a splash in the water. Another followed and I quickly recognized the familiar shape and behavior of Spinner Dolphins.

For almost half an hour, I watched as a large pod of dolphins – at least 50 and possibly as many as 100 – cavorted offshore. We were all heading in the same direction and, in normal circumstances, dolphins would easily outpace me, but these were having fun. In addition to spinning, I saw a lot of other regular jumps. Sometimes the dolphins turned back the way they came or headed toward shore, surfing in the waves.

When I turned inland, to head back to my car, they were still in sight and still spinning and frolicking in the waves.

Posted for Jo’s Monday Walk. See more responses here.

A Spinner dolphin leaps from the waters off Hawaii


Ten sheep, and ten cattle egrets, in Hawaii

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘A Numbers Game.’ See more responses here. I put all my fingers and thumbs to work for my response, starting with ten Sheep in formation (and ten Cattle Egrets, too, as a bonus).

Next we have nine Spinner Dolphins playing, eight Wild Pigs foraging, seven Cattle Egrets heading to work.

Then there’s six Dung Beetles at work, five Black Triggerfish feeling blue, four Japanese White-eyes bathing.

And finally, three Horses watching, two Hawaiian Monk Seals resting, and one Pueo anticipating zero and lifting off.

Spinner Dolphins stop by

Spinner Dolphins in the waters off Hawaii
Spinner Dolphins in the waters off Hawaii

A couple of mornings ago, I was about to get in the water when I noticed something out in the bay. After a few moments, I realized they were dolphins, and they didn’t appear to be in a hurry to get anywhere. Often, dolphins zip up or down the coast and, even if I’m out there when they go by, it’s a fleeting encounter.

But when they move slowly, as they were on this day, there’s a fair chance they might hang around. So I jumped in and swam out in the general direction of where they were heading, hoping to cross paths. Each time I popped up to try and locate them, they were still there. Soon I saw the first one and then they were all around me.

After several minutes they headed back the way they came, but still in no great hurry. I followed at my own pace. There’s no way I could keep up with them and I knew my main chance of seeing them again was if they turned back my way. This they duly did.

The dolphins remained in the bay for half an hour or more, going back and forth. A few leapt out of the water as spinners do, but under water they twisted and turned and just seemed to be having a good time. It was nice to see several youngsters among them. Eventually, they took off in the direction they’d been going when I first saw them and I swam back to shore.

Spinner Dolphins in the waters off Hawaii

These are some of the photos I took during the encounter. I had one photo with 45 or so dolphins in it and I know I didn’t capture all of them. I think there were probably 50 or 60 dolphins in the pod, possibly more. It’s only the fourth time I’ve encountered a pod that size and it’s a wonderful experience that will never got old.


A greeting on the sea floor at Two Step, Hawaii

This week’s Sunday Stills color challenge theme is ‘Teal or Aqua.’ See more responses here. I’m going underwater for a selection of aquatic aquas.

The top photo shows what happens when divers have too much time on their hands.

Next, we have some Square-spot Goatfishes and a few Orangeband Surgeonfishes meandering over a patch of sand. Then a Bullethead Parrotfish displaying a variety of colors. And a shoal of Hawaiian Silversides going hither and yon over a rocky bottom.

Finally, a couple of Spinner Dolphin photos, where they swam below me over an aqua background.

Spinner Dolphins in the waters off HawaiiA Spinner Dolphin in the waters off Hawaii

Some Hawaii wildlife

A palila sits in a tree in Hawaii

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Wildlife.’ See more responses here. I thought I’d go with a couple of photos from the air, on land, and in the ocean.

First up, a couple of native Hawaiian birds, a palila above and a pueo below.

A pueo sits on a post in Hawaii
Wild goats rest on a trail in Hawaii

Next, a group of goats blocking a trail in South Kona, above, and a wild pig snaffles a mango and runs off with its prize, below.

A wild pig runs off with a mango in Hawaii
Spinner dolphins in the waters off Hawaii

Finally, a pod of spinner dolphins that I encountered in the wild while snorkeling. This scene was made more poignant for me by having recently seen dolphins in a small pool doing their thing for tourists at one of the resorts here. I couldn’t bring myself to take a photo of that.

Spinner dolphins in the waters off Hawaii

A look back at 2021

A Hawaiian monk seal resting
January: Hiwahiwa, a male Hawaiian Monk Seal born in 2020, rests at Upolu. Haven’t seen any monk seals since this encounter. (Link)

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘2021 in Your Rear-View Mirror.’ See more responses here. I’ve gone with a favorite photo from each month of 2021, with a caption and link to the post the photo first appeared in.

Wainanali’i lagoon at Kiholo, Hawaii at Kiholo, Hawaii
February: I love hiking at Kiholo Bay. There’s plenty to see and shady spots to rest awhile. (Link)
Spinner dolphins in the waters off the Big Island, Hawaii
March: Swimming with dolphins! Need I say more. (Link)
An I'iwi calls in a forest off Saddle Road, Hawaii
April: Another favorite hike, on Pu’u O’o Trail off Saddle Road, and an endemic I’iwi singing its heart out. (Link)
Close up of a coastal manta ray approaching
May: This inquisitive Manta Ray kept returning, probably wondering how something so clumsy-looking could survive in the water. (Link)
A Roseate Skimmer Dragonfly perched on a twig
June: I like seeing little creatures, such as this Roseate Skimmer Dragonfly, and I’m thrilled when the photos turn out. (Link)
Three palm trees in Hawaii
July: I like palm trees and word play so this was too tempting to pass up for Becky’s Tree Squares. (Link)
A school of mackerel scads, or Opelus being hunted by a rainbow runner off Hawaii
August: An instant in the water – a school of Mackeral Scads chased by a Rainbow Runner. They went by in a matter of seconds. (Link)
Red-masked parakeets at Kohanaiki Beach Park.
September: These Red-Masked Parakeets are not native, but they’re oh so tropical. (Link)
Early morning lights at the port of Kawaihae, Hawaii
October: When I have time, on my way to work, I stop at Kawaihae. I might see anything from a glorious sunrise, to a tiny crab on the beach, to these port lights. (Link)
The lava cone and lake at Kilauea Volcano in late 2021
November: Kilauea erupted again so I had to go look. The eruption is still going, but a little erratically these days. (Link)
A Green turtle, with a slender remora on its shell, checks out the photographer
December: A recent encounter and maybe my favorite Hawaiian Green Turtle photo. (Link)