Spinner’s and Spotted’s and Humpbacks, Oh My! – 4/12/15

We were lucky enough to go whale watching off the coast of Lahaina in Maui.  The first time we went out we spotted two humpback blows and a tail fluke far off in the distance but not much else so we were able to come back another day were very hopeful that we would be successful!

Humpback blows and a breach were spotted fairly early on in our trip but the first couple of humpbacks we saw were just blows and travelling, nothing very exciting, not even a fluke.  While we were looking out for more of them we spotted something from the stern which looking like a fish jumping.  It jumped a few times in the same spot very unlike a jumping fish so we were confused as to what we were actually seeing but as the boat turned one of the naturalists shouted that the splashes that we were seeing were in fact dolphins!  I couldn’t believe it-they were so small!  They reminded me of Harbour Porpoises in size and also in the limited time they spent at the surface but as the boat came closer they traveled over to bow ride with us and then we could see them in their full glory (video footage can be seen here!).  These were Spinner Dolphins and even though they didn’t spin it was amazing to see how high energy they were jumping and playing among the waves-there were even a few tiny calves swimming next to their mothers!

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Photo Credit: Nicole Cann

With everyone hanging off the sides of the boat trying to get good photos we headed to the bow to see if we could see any spin.  A naturalist then told us that they were Spotted Dolphins which confused us until we saw that there were in fact both species around us!  A few Spotted’s had joined the pod at the bow and the water was so clear you could see their distinctive spots and even a few scars near the dorsal fin of one of them.

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Photo Credit: Nicole Cann

The dolphins stayed with us for quite a while as we headed off towards another humpback blow.  While we weren’t sure if that whale was still there we did suddenly see two other humpbacks quite closer, heading right for us!  The boat stopped and as they swam towards us it was announced that the dolphins were back on the other side of the boat-talk about a tough decision!  Some of us watched the whales while others tried to get good photos of the dolphins swimming a few meters out.  Seeing the humpbacks after the dolphins reminded me of how enormous these animals really are and getting some amazing close up shots of their giant blow holes definitely helped!

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Photo Credit: Nicole Cann

Both whales fluked and we were able to rejoin our friends looking at the dolphins-who turned out to be Bottlenose!

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Photo Credit: Nicole Cann

We watched them for a few moments before heading back to the dock.  Three dolphin species and at least six humpbacks were more than we could ever have hoped for making this trip even more memorable!

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Photo Credit: Nicole Cann

 

-Lindsay

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