Hawaiian spinner dolphins of Lanai are one of the more commonly seen dolphins of Maui.
Called nai’a in Hawaiian, these friendly and beautiful animals flock to the shores of Maui to enjoy the warm, clear, tropical water and shallow bays. Four different species of the spinner dolphin exist, spanning parts of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans, but the Hawaiian spinner dolphins make up their own subspecies and are easy to spot due to the unique coloring of dark grey on their backs, a stripe of lighter grey on their sides and a white or pink belly, as well as their long, thin beak and triangular dorsal fin.Off Maui, the spinners usually rest in shallow bays during the daytime, and as it approaches dusk, move farther offshore to feed, sometimes diving as deep as 1,000 feet to catch their prey. Using echolocation and whistling to both hunt and protect themselves from danger, these dolphins see the beauty in numbers, traveling in schools of anywhere from a few members to a few hundred. Off the coast of the island of Lanai, huge schools of spinner dolphins are seen regularly. So much so that we see them almost without fail on our snorkeling tours. It often seems as though these most acrobatic dolphins of Maui swim out to greet us and play in the wake of our rafts.