Spinner Dolphins

Ancient Hawaiians have been creating mythology around them, Mark Twain wrote about them, and scientists have been studying them; Hawaiian Spinner Dolphins have made their mark and their home on the west side of Oahu since well before recorded time.

These days, Spinner Dolphins are seen on a daily basis on the west side of Oahu. Spinners travel far off shore at night to their feeding grounds and return close to shore in shallow waters to socialize, nurse their young, and rest.

Spinner dolphins are the most common cetacean found around the Hawaiian Islands. They average 6 feet (2 m) in length and 175 pounds (80 kg). Pod size ranges between 10-100 individuals.

Rest behavior is characterized by swimming in tight groups, surfacing synchronously to breathe and gliding along the sandy bottom in a “carpet” formation. Aerial activity, such as spins, head and tail slappings, increases as they “awaken” during the late morning hours and through the afternoon.

If you’d like to come play with the Spinners, book your tour with Dolphin Excursions.

Stenella longirostris

Hawaiian Name: Nai’a
Size: 1.7 to 2.2 meters, 75 kilograms; males slightly larger than females
Teeth: 45 to 65 sharp-pointed teeth
Food: Fish — small deep-ocean species like lantern fish, shrimp, and squid
Habitat: Mainly offshore, near shore in certain island chains
Range: Tropical, subtropical, and warm temperate world ocean
Status: Population unknown, but common in most parts of its range; substantial declines have occurred in the eastern tropical Pacific

More information on Spinner Dolphins


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We specialize in safely leading small groups on our state of the art 34-foot rigid inflatable boat with our lifeguard certified crew. We also provide roundtrip transportation to and from Waikiki and Ko Olina hotels.