Adoption Dolphin Sighting

The water was extremely calm last Thursday as the Maui Research Team left Lahaina Harbor.  We were so fortunate to have such great conditions in areas that are usually too rough to survey for dolphins.  We headed towards the waters of Ma’alaea Bay, just outside one of the windiest harbors in the world, where the water resembled a lake.

After beginning our transect lines, the glimmer of a dorsal fin captured our attention.  We pursued and encountered 2 mom and juvenile pairs of bottlenose dolphins.  The last time we sighted bottlenose from the research vessel was late June.  One of these females had a remarkably unique dorsal fin with a large chunk missing.  She was immediately recognized as belonging to our bottlenose catalog.  This was, however, only the second sighting of this individual so this encounter with her and her calf, verified her as a female!

We then focused on capturing dorsal identification images of the other mom and calf pair.  This female had a small notch but noticeable enough to be identified as belonging in our catalog as well.  In fact, this bottlenose also belongs to our Adopt-A-Dolphin Program!!

Named Pa’ani (Hawaiian for “playful”), we last observed her in June 2012.  This was the sixth time PWF has seen Pa’ani, though the first time there has been a juvenile trailing along beside her.  For all participants of our Adoption Programs, this is HUGE news!  Not only has Pa’ani been resighted, but we can now confirm her as female!

If you are interested in finding out more about Pacific Whale Foundation’s Adoption Programs (dolphins, turtles or humpback whales) check out our webpage (  “You’ll learn about the life of one very special whale, dolphin or turtle. At the same time, you’ll be supporting research, education and programs that work to protect all whales and dolphins in the Pacific.”