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This dolphin ‘stampede’ is absolutely bonkers

Published Apr 7th, 2021 1:32AM EDT
dolphin stampede
Image: MARIMA/Adobe

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If you hand over a chunk of cash to go on a whale-watching excursion on the ocean you can expect to see some whales, and anything else that might happen to pop up out of the waves is just an added bonus. For a group of whale watchers that recently took a trip with Dana Wharf Whale Watching, they got what can only be described as a once-in-a-lifetime treat, and we don’t even know if they got to see any whales. The boat and its passengers were lucky enough to stumble upon a “mega pod” of dolphins that were cruising through the water and it’s a sight unlike any you’ve ever seen.

In a new YouTube video, we’re able to enjoy a few brief moments of the “dolphin stampede,” as the company calls it, and it’s really something. We don’t know the exact number but it’s estimated that there were up to a thousand aquatic mammals in this group, all swimming and jumping in the same direction in one massive mob.

It’s rare to see such a gathering of dolphins but not entirely unheard of. In fact, even larger groups have been spotted in the past, but let’s focus on this latest sighting for now. The animals we see in the video are common bottlenose dolphins and the video was shot off the coast of California near Dana Point, which is where Dana Wharf Whale Watching gets its name. Without further adieu, feast your eyes on this:

The video, which is available in up to 4K resolution with HDR (it’s awesome) is just plain stunning. The dolphins are swimming at a speed that seems to perfectly match the speed of the boat and it’s clear that the people on board are enjoying themselves. If you listen closely you can hear the tour guide letting the passengers know how lucky they are to see something so rare and it even sounds like the guide himself might be a bit stunned by what he is witnessing.

The description of the video offers some added context:

This mega pod or super pod of common dolphins take off while our Whale Watching boat is viewing them this behavior is known as the Dolphin Stampede, we were the first location to coin the phrase. The dolphins take off so fast they turn up the water making it white water, you can hear them swimming through the rushing water. They are so graceful even in the frenzied behavior and we are so amazed to see them right of our coast. In fact we were so lucky to see this for a 4 hour time span.

Four hours?! That’s a mighty long time to be cruising with dolphins, but since nobody on the boat will probably ever see anything like it again, it’s nice that they were able to enjoy it for an extended period of time.

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