Thursday, August 9, 2012 "Read entire blog"

It was a beautiful day in Lahaina on Thursday, August 9, 2012, however rumors of strong winds created nerves as the research team left the harbor at 8 am. We headed out to cover some transect lines in one of our survey zones along the coastline of Lana'i.  

Conditions were ideal until reaching the area where our transect lines were supposed to begin:  an intense wind blowing in from the North. Luckily our efforts moved away from the wind towards waters were it would be much easier to spot dolphins in the water...if they were there. After completing 5 transect lines taking about 8 minutes each, we were transitioning on to our next transect line, and found some Pantropical Spotted Dolphins!  It was a group of about 70 spread over a quarter mile. At first they seemed to be heading North, but then South, then West....really no specific direction. We caught a glimpse of a calf with its mother, as well as an individual that appeared to have a fresh scar of some sort.  

Luckily the dolphins led us right to the beginning of our next transect line and we continued on our way.  We finished the rest of the transects in the zone (including the longest transect taking 37 minutes) and made way towards the harbor.

But, we then encountered another pod of Spotted Dolphins. This group was smaller but more spread out.  A very successful day for the research team to sight a species twice in one day. It gives us great data for distribution of this species in Maui County waters.  Some images and videos taken this field day will be included in the presentation I will be giving for Dolphin Days this coming Saturday, August 11, from 6pm to 7:30pm in Pacific Whale Foundation's Discovery Center, Ma'alaea. It's free to the public.