Nai’a is the Hawaiian word for dolphin and last month I was fortunate enough to swim with the Nai’a off the shores of Oahu, Hawaii. The dolphin we mostly encountered were the small but entertaining Spinner Dolphins (Stenella longirostris). Early in the morning they would be found in the shallow waters resting up in their pods, often over sandy areas where they can shut down one side of their brain and close the opposite eye to sleep, leaving the other conscious half to keep guard for shadows of predators easily seen over the bright sand.
It was beautiful to see a pod of some 30 or more dolphins, all moving together as one, a single entity of consciousness. They would all glide together and then rise to the surface to breathe as one, before returning to the sandy bottom. On the flanks would be a couple of dolphins on guard duty, fully conscious who would come over and check me out, as I floated in awe at one of natures most beautiful spectacles.
I tried my best to capture this beauty in this collection of images, however I truly believe this is something one can only truly appreciate face to face. I would like to thank Tori Cullins and the crew from Wild Side Specialty Tours who took me onboard and made me feel so welcome, without which I could never have got these shots.