Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Swimming with Dolphins at Honolua Bay

  A day off usually means adventuring here on Maui but since Heidi has a flight scheduled in a few hours we could not go scuba diving. So we thought about possible snorkel locations to go and shoot at. There are spots where you can definitely see turtles, others where dolphins sometimes frequent. I could point you towards black tip reef sharks and white tip reef shark spots. But today we decided to make the long haul to beautiful Honolua Bay up on the Northwest corner of the island to look for the huge school of big-eye scad living in the shallows. We found them...and much more.

   The walk down to Honolua Bay is through a towering rainforest. It is an easy, level path bordered by huge trees covered in thick vines. The beach itself is all rocks. While not the most comfortable laying down surface the rocks do soak up the heat from the sun which provides an easy way to warm up after your snorkel. As we headed out the water cleared up after a few yards and we kicked our way over to the reef on the left. The coral here is shallow and very colorful. Everywhere you look coral is covering the rocks and forming a very healthy reef. Lots of unicornfish, chubs, and parrotfish hover over the reef. As we continued I found a young sea turtle who posed for a few pictures. This is when Heidi swam up and said, 'dolphins!' and pointed way out of the bay to deeper water.

  After a quick debate we set off in pursuit. The danger of swimming out of the bay is not deep water or sharks or current, but of tour boats coming to and from Honolua. Luckily my bright yellow snorkel fins make for an easy makeshift dive flag if I feel the need. Once we got out far enough we searched above water for signs of the dolphins. I saw splashes way off to our left, out in front of Slaughterhouse bay so we made our way towards them. There was actually one other snorkeler already hanging with the dolphins who was very surprised to see us. When we finally got close enough to see the dolphins underwater one broke off from the group and came right past me to get a good look.

By the sound of it these dolphins were 'looking' at us long before we saw them. The underwater pinging was incredibly loud. They were eco-locating constantly. Heidi had it so loud and so close that she said it rattled her head a little bit.

  Most of these spinner dolphins were in classic resting mode. A few were very playful with each other. I did find that it was hard to keep up with these dolphins compared to the group that sometimes comes to La Perouse Bay. There was one juvenile dolphin in this group as well. This picture on the right is of mom reminding the baby to head up for a breath. The baby went straight up, breathed, and right back down to mom right after I took this.

On the way back in we did find the school of thousands of big-eye scad. These scad are a dense schooling fish that are so much fun to swim through. They part like the red sea, forming a circle around you before reforming the school behind you. The water was a little less clear this far inshore but I managed to snag a few pictures as Heidi played with the school. This should be good practice for the schools of bait fish I hope to encounter in the Philippines next month.

 If you would ever like to purchase any of my pictures you can find my work for sale at www.daimarsphotos.com
 If you would like a picture from this blog that is not on my photo sight feel free to leave a comment on the blog.

Also check out other adventures at Honolua Bay here:
Honolua Snorkel
Surfing Honolua

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