Monday, October 10, 2011

University of Hawaii foreign exchange students swim with dolphins! Manta Rays! and a Shark!

Yesterday Wild Dolphin Swims Hawaii brought 20 foreign exchange students out on a big boat!  I do this trip every semester and it always turns out so well!  The dolphins were all stirred up in a circle as we observed them, lots of excitement, several porpoised past the boat.  All the students got in, 9 for their first snorkel ever! The dolphins were everywhere you looked.  Lots of new babies, three went under us that were only about 2 weeks old. 
Then my focus found something different among all the dolphins, right below us --quite a large shark was strolling around down there!  I signaled the captain, with a hand placed upright in the center of my head, and he brought the boat a little closer as the students caught on and gathered close around the boat.  Some students were too fascinated to leave.  My swim guide, Jan, and I held hands and kept between the shark and our group.  He was so close to the surface, not bothered by us at all, and dolphins were darting in to take a closer look. 
Bigger than the dolphins, Jan did some research & figures what I was told was a sand shark, seems to be a "bar shark" and this one about 10ft.  I've seen these sharks before in the same area, sometimes 3-4 or them together.  It was fun to watch the dolphins.  They moved quite quickly around it, but didn't startle the shark, the shark just gracefully moved around all the commotion.  Our students stayed calm and started coming back towards the shark as Jan and I herded it, or thought we were herding it, away from everyone.  It moved off, out of our sight, and the captain said the big male dolphins had moved in around it.  That was the second most interactive shark I've been with!
Then we went up to see the giant manta rays at a cleaning station and were lucky -- 3 large mantas hovered under us and over the reef for as long as we were in the water, about 20 minutes. Koie, a 12' female was among them.  A highlight for many of the students.  We got in again with the dolphins coming our way, and a  group of students got to swim with 4 spotted dolphins too!
Quite a day, the weather and waves calm and bright!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

False Killer Whale Encounter Today!

Encountered a pod of pseudorca, false killer whales, today on the way out to swim with dolphins!  This one was bowriding while whistling and turning over to look at us.  Capt Karl steered straight and slow while the pseudorca played in front of our boat.
Gorgeous day on the water, with dolphins and mantas too!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Baby Wild Spinner Dolphins

Baby Spinner Dolphin born this week!
Late July or early August begins the primary birthing season here in Hawaii. Today I filmed the first baby that we have seen in daily trips this month!  Born this week.  We can assess the approximate age by looking at fetal folds, which are quite apparent for 4 days or so, and any curvature in the dorsal fin and flukes which straighten quite quickly. This one still has fetal folds, but the little one's dorsal fin is upright and his flukes are pretty straight across, so he's a few days old & less than a week.
The adult dolphins nearby are protective and keeping a close watch alongside his mom.
Although dolphins give birth all year in Hawaii, we'll see new baby dolphins nearly every week in August, September, and October.  Dolphins continue to give birth up until winter when the rate drops off.  In spring we see a few more dolphins born.  In March, females begin to show their pregnancy and become 'fatties' for a few months, an obvious bulge in their bellies.  The babies nurse for at least 6 months and stay close to mom until a new calf is born.  I have seen moms I recognize give birth every year.  Well, I must say, I have never seen a live birth, but rather see the baby alongside mom in the days following their birth. Some moms are very protective, and others let their babies ride the boat's bow wave while very young.
This mom gave me a wonderful birthday gift! ...

Friday, June 10, 2011

Children, Autism, & Dolphins

A story of a young autistic boy speaking for his first time after being in the water surrounded by dolphins is on my website at
The producer of NA NAI'A Legend of The Dolphins made that event possible, while filming a segment with Daryl Hannah.
See a trailer of the film at
NA NAI'A Legend of The Dolphins was shown in Cannes in 2010 and on Maui.
Come to the World Premiere - Introduced by Megan Fox & Director Jonathon Kay
Maui Film Festival Wed. June 15
Celestial Cinema
NA NAI'A Legend of The Dolphins is a mind-expanding feature film documentary which celebrates the spectacular beauty of the dolphins, their message to humanity, their power, their wisdom, their fun-loving nature, and the importance of their global conservation. This film has a wonderful consciousness-raising message about the importance of the international conservation of the environment of the oceans, and rivers of our planet.
NA NAI'A Legend of The Dolphins has been filmed on location in Hawaii, Bimini, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, South Africa, and Mozambique.
This film is extraordinary in that it presents the story of the dolphins from their point of view, using fantastic film sequences that we have filmed around the world, in conjunction with amazing music and voiceover narration that's been recorded by a variety of artists.
KATE WINSLET, MEGAN FOX, WHOOPI GOLDBERG, ELLEN PAGE, CHEECH MARIN, JAMES FRANCO, JULIAN LENNON, DIEGO LUNA, ISABELLA ROSSELLI and GERARD BUTLER have each participated as narrators of various countries in this film and have supported this project in order to encourage international conservation of the dolphins and the environment of the oceans of the Earth. Daryl Hannah appears in the film and participated in an underwater film shoot on the Big Island of Hawaii, with the Hawaiian Spinner Dolphins.
See the Trailer of the film at:
YOKO ONO provided her consent for use of the song IMAGINE performed by John Lennon
THE ROLLING STONES have provided the use of the song BEAST OF BURDEN
in the film on a gratis basis, in support of the wonderful message that the film provides in helping the dolphins and encouraging the global conservation of the oceans of our planet. RINGO STARR has also participated on this documentary. Award winning Hollywood Composer RANDY EDELMAN has composed the original music score for the film, and it sounds FANTASTIC. Randy composed the scores for THE MASK, BILLY MADISON, BEETHOVEN,THE MUMMY and about a hundred other films.
The film is expected to reach a diverse international audience and to receive substantial press and publicity through its worldwide distribution in theatres, on DVD, and on television.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Dolphin Immersion Multiday Boat Trips

The dates for a dolphin immersion are flexible.  Your availability and the number of people in your group are considered when planning for the next multiday adventure.
This is also a rare opportunity to book day after day of dolphin encounters for the highly curious or if you are traveling alone.
Group leaders who are thinking of including dolphin encounters in their workshops will become familiar with the dolphins & logistics. 
One focus may be looking into the healing/ life altering/ positive effects of dolphin contact.  If you would like to bring a client for a dolphin healing intensive, please contact me.

The day after the tsunami, we traveled with a huge pod of dolphins, about 400. They were exuberant!  Dolphins may positively affect our immune systems purely through the joy we experience being with them in their natural state.

Thursday, May 26, 2011



Come to Hawaii and help create the basis of a new kind of friendship, with dolphins that remain wild & free.  The dolphins allow us to join their pods in play or travel while continuing their wild lifestyle in front of our eyes and all around us. Join our boat trips right along the Kona coastline to observe the dolphins’ behavior among themselves and interactions with us. 
Occasionally their mood shifts to include us more closely ~ watching our play, testing our responses, challenging us.  It’s such a privilege to not only be able to observe the dolphins, but also to be the focus of their attention for a few moments.  We are fortunate to be among them as they live free in the wild, displaying natural behavior in pods of 100 or more. 
When new findings of the physiology of dolphins are applied to what we observe, we find we have a window into possibilities for the future of our human relationships and societies.  We have so much to learn from the cohesive nature of dolphin pods ~ it’s a revelation!
You can be a part of this unique phenomena of being accepted into the wild dolphins’ home and bringing back to your life and our humanity what you have learned from an extraordinary friendship with another species.
Six students of dolphins will join me.  We will go out on a boat 5 days a week for 4 hours each day to encounter the spinner dolphins.  Our chances of finding them everyday are 99% with a slight chance of also encountering bottlenose, spotted dolphins, or pilot whales as well.  With great respect and immense curiosity, we shall join the pods by boat and in the water.  Combined with unparalleled stories and knowledge from my 30 years of study and dolphin encounters, and relating your experiences, we will expand our understandings of dolphins and ourselves.
The Big Island has amazing natural beauty and a powerful cultural heritage which you will have time to explore and enjoy.
Please consider joining this small group for the experiences of a lifetime!  If you are sincerely interested in this program, please contact me so we can decide if it is a fit for you.  This program is on demand and scheduled for your convenience.
The price is for all the boat trips, gear, and lunch aboard.   Housing, food, transportation, and other costs are separate.  Shared housing and transportation with the other guests may be coordinated.  The cost is $2800 per person.
I am looking forward to hearing from you and the experiences we will have together!
With much aloha,

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Dolphinland.  The Heart of DolphinLand. Just what I called it while I was there. Pamela Polland's gorgeous song, "The Heart of the World," goes so well with this one-take; the video repeated once.  The dolphins were lying in my lap, as i say. ~~ gentle, curious, investigative.