Big Island Snorkling Tours Blog

Spinner Dolphins of the Big Island


Join our on excellent crew on Sea Paradise’s Hoku Nui for a snorkel tour.  You may well see the playful spinner dolphins in the pristine waters off the Kona Coast.

Spinner dolphins are a species of cetacean that are found in tropical and subtropical waters around the world. They are known for their acrobatic behavior, including spinning in the air up to 7 times in a row. Spinner dolphins are also very social animals and live in pods of up to 100 individuals.

On the Big Island of Hawaii, spinner dolphins are a popular tourist attraction. Visitors can often see them swimming and playing in the waters off the Kona coast. However, in recent years, there has been growing concern about the impact of human activity on spinner dolphins in Hawaii.

One of the biggest threats to spinner dolphins is boat traffic. Boats can scare dolphins away from their resting areas and can also injure or even kill them. In addition, boat noise can disrupt the dolphins’ communication and feeding patterns.

Another threat to spinner dolphins is pollution. Chemicals and pollutants in the water can harm the dolphins’ health and can also contaminate their food supply.

In 2021, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) banned swimming with, approaching, or remaining within 50 yards of spinner dolphins in Hawaii. This rule was put in place to protect dolphins from the harmful effects of human activity.

Despite these challenges, spinner dolphins continue to thrive on the Big Island. They are an important part of the local ecosystem and a beloved tourist attraction. With careful management and protection, spinner dolphins can continue to live and thrive in Hawaiian waters for many years to come.

Here are some additional facts about spinner dolphins:

  • They are the smallest of the oceanic dolphins, with adults typically measuring between 5 and 7 feet long.
  • They have a long, slender body with a pointed snout and a small dorsal fin.
  • Their skin is dark gray or black on the back and sides, with a lighter gray belly.
  • They are very social animals and live in pods of up to 100 individuals.
  • They are an acrobatic species and are known for their spinning behavior.
  • They are also very vocal animals and communicate using a variety of clicks, whistles, and squeaks.
  • They are carnivores and feed on a variety of fish, squid, and octopus.
  • They are listed as Data Deficient on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

If you are planning a trip to the Big Island, be sure to respect the spinner dolphins and their habitat. Do not swim with them, approach them too closely, or make noise near them. By following these simple guidelines, you can help to ensure the long-term survival of these amazing creatures.


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