West Side Oahu: Home of the Spinner Dolphins

Dolphins can be found all around the coasts of the Hawaiian Islands. On the island of Oahu they are most frequently spotted on the west coast in the morning and afternoon. There are specific reasons for their abundance in that region and behavioral patters of these magnificent marine mammals. After seeing them, you’ll agree they are the most friendly animals you’ll ever meet. When I took a tour to see dolphins swimming in their natural environment I wondered, how is the captain going to find us some dolphins? Does he know flipper and his family on a personal basis? During his insightful, informative speech, I learned that the area we were in was one of the most common places on Oahu to witness them. Within 10 minutes of riding out on the boat, I could already see dolphins swimming around in large packs. These synchronized swimmers appeared to be on cruise control and circling the waters on the west side. The captain explained that at night the dolphins are hunting, and during the day they’re cruising around in packs, half asleep. In fact half of their brain is shut off, hence being on cruise-control. I learned how they got their name “spinner” as I watched a few of them jump out of the water and show off their acrobatic skills. They communicate with echolocation which enables them to detect objects much further than they can see. Other communications may include back flaps, belly flops, fin slaps, basically anything to grab attention. For me, I like to use a nice big belly flop for attention grabbing. The reason spinner dolphins are abundantly seen on the west side is the reason you may of vacationed in Hawaii, the water is warmer. Only slightly warmer, but enough for the dolphins to come relax and play before a long night of hunting. When cruising the west side from a boat you will witness a beautiful coastline, tons of dolphins, fish, sea turtles, and even whales if they’re in season. You will not be able to touch them or ride them, but rather view them swimming around you in packs. The best way to view them is to let your captain guide you on your tour. You can even help the captain and crew spot them, and then get out to snorkel in appropriate areas. Calmly float on the top of the water and let them swim around you and underneath you. The more you move around and splash, the less of a chance dolphins will be swimming close to you. Wearing a life preserver will help you relax while floating on top of the water to view the dolphins.Rather than swimming way out to sea, hop on board and take a tour. Swimming with the friendliest creatures of the sea will be an experience to remember.

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