Dolphin sightings are always an exciting event for our Maui ocean cruise guests, so we thought we’d share some fun facts about these acrobatic mammals. Here in the waters around Maui, spinner dolphins have the highest numbers, and are sometimes seen in large pods, jumping and twirling out of the water alongside our boats. So what are the interesting highlights about this type of dolphin? Read on.
One of the reason’s you’re so likely to see spinners here is because they live in tropical and sub tropical oceans around the world. In fact, its special adaptations to this kind of environment have turned it into its own subspecies.
One of the features that stand out about spinners is their diminutive size, compared with other common dolphins like the bottlenose. They range from 4’5″ to 7’7″, while bottlenose dolphins range from about 6′ to 12′ in length. This makes the spinners much more comparable to us humans when it comes to size. Their weight can be anywhere from 50lbs to 174lbs, so we do tend to be heavier, if not longer.
Although spinner sightings are common during the day, Hawaiian spinners eat at night, foraging on many different kinds of prey found in deep water. They tend to feed cooperatively, rounding up prey together before snatching them up.
Another of their common behaviors is their acrobatics above the surface of the water. They were named after the twirling motion that they tend to perform so enthusiastically when leaping out of the ocean. Some scientists believe this is a playful behavior, while others believe they do it to dislodge any pesky parasites that may be hitching a ride on them, and some others believe it’s both. One thing we can be sure of is that it’s a whole lot of fun to watch large pods jetting out of the water with such finesse.
We hope you’ll be able to join us on any one of our Maui ocean tours, because you could catch a glimpse of them at any time. As an inside tip, they’re often seen along the way on our Lanai snorkeling tour. Just be careful not to drop your camera or phone off the side in your eagerness to take pictures! These dolphins probably won’t retrieve it for you like the dolphin “Cacique” did in the Bahamas. Mahalo!