There have been a few moments in my time underwater
which have left me completely amazed, humbled, captivated.. A whaleshark
doing a flyover 15 feet above.. Communicating in tentacle sign language
with several cuttlefish over an hour.. Watching two exquisite mandarinfish
rise in a magical mating dance.. My time with the spinner dolphins
in Manuka Bay was one such experience.
The captain explained that the dolphins along the
Kona Coast of Hawaii hunt at night, and go to quiet resting places
during the day. We arrived in Manuka Bay in the morning to see a huge
pod of 40 to 50 spinner dolphins in one of their resting places. They
came to the boat to joyfully play in the wake as we arrived and soon
settled back to their quiet routine swimming in groups around the
bay. We spent the morning snorkling with them. There were three baby
dolphins in the group. One was nearly a white color, very unusual.
The babies swam with their mothers. Groups of males would swim between
the snorklers and the mothers with their babies. The captain called
them the guardians. I snorkled with them long after the other snorklers
had returned to our boat. The mothers decided that I was not a threat,
and allowed the babies to swim closer, as they were very curious.
I was so enchanted with them, that it was only after they'd passed
when I realized I'd neglected to take their photos!
When we had all left the water, the dolphins circled
the boat, spy hopped, and made their acrobatic spinning leaps, as
if to say "Come back out and play!".