Koa Wood Living Legend Of The Big Island Nai'a | The Jeff Gomes Koa Experience


Koa Wood Living Legend Of The Big Island Nai'a | The Jeff Gomes Koa Experience

Visit our Shopify Store online at HawaiiBookmarks.com or take a tour of The Jeff Gomes Koa Experience at 16-175 Melekahiwa St #1, Keaau, HI 96749.

There is so much to explore and experience when you are visiting the Big Island of Hawaii. A magical experience you must try is to get up close and personal with some of our amazing native marine life. Help make your Hawaiian vacation epic and memorable! Get your waterproof, digital cameras and your dramatic, cinematic lenses ready to explore and capture your once-in-a-lifetime moments while on our beautiful Big Island of Hawaii!

Koa Wood Naia Bookmark

Koa hardwood bookmark with dolphins [nai'a] design.

Nai'a Koa Hardwood Earrings

Nai'a [dolphin or porpoise] koa hardwood earrings.

Nai'a [Dolphin]

After spending quality time with these beautiful and intelligent mammals, you will agree that they are at the top of everybody's must-experience list. Dolphins roam the Earth's oceans in groups known as schools or pods. On average a pod of dolphins has up to twelve individuals. They use a blowhole located on the top of their heads to breathe. Dolphins are well suited for their underwater environment possessing excellent eyesight and hearing. The hearing range of dolphins is highly developed and sensitive that they are able to scan and locate anything underwater using echolocation. A very similar technique used by bats when locating food in complete darkness. And if you are the proximity of dolphins while swimming underwater you should be able to hear them chatting with other pod members. Dolphins communicate with each other using a complex language of human audible and inaudible clickings, whistlings, and sound vibrations. Unfortunately, as amazing and beautiful dolphins are, there are some dolphin species that are in danger of becoming extinct in the next decade primarily due to negligent human behavior and unsafe-dolphin fishing practices. If you have not experienced being in the presence of dolphins you must make time observing these ocean beauties playing in their natural environment during your visit on the Big Island of Hawaii!

Living in Hawaii transforms residents into tour guides every time visiting friends and family drop their closed-toed shoes on the lanai. A not-infrequent request: “Where can I swim with dolphins?” Dolphins have captivated us since the dawn of modern recorded civilization. Roman coins and Greek myths describe everyday events of dolphin rides and rescues. The aborigines of Australia consider dolphins as fishing assistants, whose function was to help in rounding up mullet. It has been recorded since the 1940s, that trained dolphins have been treated as an entertainment commodity, from awing spectators with hoop-leaping, hat-wearing, to even picture-painting antics.

All dolphins in the Hawaiian language are called 'nai'a', yet there are at least eight different known species that call the warm waters of the Hawaiian archipelago home. Pacific bottlenose, rough-toothed, spotted, and spinner dolphins are among the most common dolphin species observed in the waters around the Hawaiian Islands. It is challenging to the untrained eye in telling apart the from one species of dolphin to the next species of dolphin. As with the distinct spot patterns between big cats like cheetahs, patterns in coloration and the presence or absence of spots may help identify which of cetaceans may have crossed your path. Note that unlike porpoises, dolphins have a distinct beak or elongated rostrum. The upturned corners of the dolphin mouth make it easy to imagine a perpetual smile. They are the masters of water: their sinuous, S-shaped curving motions propel them effortlessly through their liquid element. Much like human beings, they play—catching and flicking floating leaves or seaweed with their fins, flukes, or rostrums, dashing to be the first to capture anything dropping to the bottom of a play area.

The playful nature of Hawaiian dolphins has earned them the recognition as the best twirling dolphins in the world. Spinner dolphins do the typical speed jump, leaping above the water as they move forward, yet their spectacular aerial acrobatics are unmatched by other species. As the dolphins travel in a slow-moving pod, one or more mammals will accelerate upward at a sharp angle with a powerful tail thrust. Clearing the water, the dolphin rotates rapidly on its snout-to-tail axis, head pointed skyward, tail towards the water, followed by a headfirst reentry, and lands with a splashy side slap. Spinners have been seen leaping ten feet in the air, completing seven full spins in just a few seconds. Energetic somersaults, tail, and head slaps, spinner dolphins continue to display their strength, power, and agility. Dolphins have been observed practicing how to spin. Young spinner dolphins, called calves, maybe the most active and energetic members of a pod, yet their aerial acrobatics lack the precision and height of more mature dolphins. Similar to that of a toddler taking those first timey-whimey baby steps. At night, spinner dolphins move offshore to feed on fish and squid. During the day, they rest and socialize in Hawaii’s bays. These clear and protected waters are vital habitat because, at rest, dolphins are more vulnerable to sharks and other predators. During such periods, which last up to five hours, spinners are much quieter and stop emitting sonar. Only half their brain is fully active.

Most wild encounters are possible because we prefer the same qualities for swimming holes. Hulopoe Bay, on the southern stretch of Lanai, is shielded from the northeasterly trade winds, and its crescent expanse of sandy bottoms and coral gardens delivers hours of easy snorkeling over calm waters. Those same sandy patches and tranquil seas have made it a favorite hangout for a group of spinner dolphins. Sightings there can’t be guaranteed, but they do occur. Signs warn against intentionally approaching within fifty yards, touching, or otherwise harassing the animals, under penalty of federal law, but some people either do not see the signs or simply ignore them. And as happens elsewhere, at times the dolphins appear to initiate contact by approaching the swimmer.

The federal agency charged with protecting marine mammals, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, has recommended a temporary closure of some bays on the Big Island to study the impact of human contact on the dolphins. It is important to acknowledge and ask what is our 'kuleana' (best translation is 'responsibility to the natural world') for wild dolphins found throughout the Hawaiian archipelago? Besides the possibility of interrupted rest, dolphins face threats from marine debris, underwater noise, fishery interactions, and marine pollution. One possible answer for our visiting relations is to tell them where they might see dolphins, while also explaining that underwater encounters are most likely to occur while the dolphins are trying to sleep. Learning about their daily cycles and which behaviors indicate they are in a resting state can help minimize disturbance. If we give these enchanting creatures their space and work to reduce other human impacts, we may continue to share our bays and coves with wild dolphins for a very long time.

View YouTube clip of Hawaiian Spinner Dolphins in the deep blue waters off the Kailua-Kona Coast

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