[caption id="attachment_1700" align="alignnone" width="300"]Hawaiian spinner dolphin www.hawaiioceanrafting.com[/caption]

If you have ever travelled with us to the island of Lana'i you have probably witnessed the spinner dolphins spinning, ever wonder why they spin?

Spinner dolphins are aptly named for their above-water actions. they can leap into the air and make as many as seven complete spins before diving back into the ocean again. The spinner dolphins usually perform a series of spins, each spin tending to be made with less energy, finally finishing up with an emphatic side slap. the power of the spin comes from the tremendous acceleration under the water and the torque of the tail just as the dolphin breaks the surface. the aftermath of the spin — the sound of the slap, the splash on the surface, and the dense bubble cloud underwater, which even distant dolphins can pick up through their echolocation may be the real purpose of the spin.

spinner dolphins maximize the effect of this splash by twisting around to land in a belly-flop, or back-flop. spins are most frequently performed while the school is spread out across the water. a spinning dolphin may be signaling to the others: "here i am — here is where i am going..." the effect of many dolphins spinning and leaping at once, defines what scientists call the envelope of the school — that is, its size, direction, and speed of travel.