THE BLOG
03/07/2014 10:32 am ET Updated May 07, 2014

Dolphins

Dolphins... those awesome vertebrates that made their way back into the big blue way back yonder on the evolutionary timescale are awesome animals. Any tour boat personnel that ply's the waters off of Hawaii will tell you that dolphins are eager to entertain with a diverse display of various flips, somersaults and other acrobatics sure to make any visitor swoon with giddy delight, leaving the awe inspired visitor certain that this playful interaction is proof that the dolphins, like us, are intelligent.

That would be a tidy story: tour boat goes out, dolphins interact, tourists snap some photos and everybody's happy. Delve a bit deeper and the real story surfaces, one of blood, murder and mayhem.

Dolphins hunt. One of their many techniques to feed themselves is by corralling fish into a ball at which point they have their fill as they dart into the pile of schooling fish. This corralling of fish is helped by a loud lumbering tour boat.

One group of dolphins meander off the starboard side running parallel to the boat, beckoning the captain and its eager passengers to motor closer. Like a school of fish, the starboard side of the boat is swarmed with a jubilant crowd of passengers, clicks and beeps ring out as pictures and videos are taken of the graceful swimmers below. Fading away, the passengers resume the coffee consumption and rustle their cameras away.

Up ahead, a dolphin leaps, then another. The captain, wanting to maximize the thrill, waits for a passenger to spot it. Alas, a woman shrieks with delight, "Dolphins!" The captain guns it and without hesitation the passengers hurriedly make their way to the front. One, two, three dolphins are leaping out of the water, another pack are off the port side going to and fro, darting in front of the boat.

Silence, stillness, only the glistening reflection of the rising sun upon the water are to be seen, gone is the dolphin show which ended all to abruptly. Beneath the surface the carnage ensues as the dutiful performers converge upon the spoils of a successful hunt.

This choreographed routine happens daily in the waters of Hawaii, barring inclement weather, high surf or the occasional distracting whale on vaca from their tour boat assisted feeding season, the dolphins find new ways to amaze both superficially and thoroughly.