It's always an exhilarating treat to spot a couple of dolphins gracefully dipping in and out of the surf whilst cruising along on a boat trip. Imagine, then, the excitement of seeing not dozens, not hundreds, but more than 1,000 of these cetaceans around you.
Dolphins are intelligent and social creatures usually found in pods composed of dozens of members. This helps them protect one another from danger and care for injured or sick individuals as a cluster. When many of such pods cross paths, they can temporarily form superpods of sometimes hundreds or thousands.
This is what happened just last week off the coast of California during a tour with Captain Dave's Dolphin Whale and Safari, where over 1,000 dolphins were spotted swimming as a superpod in the waters. These mega gatherings often occur where food is in high abundance or if they face a dangerous situation, but they have also been known to take place in the absence of either.
Seeing a similar dolphin rush last year, Dave Anderson of Captain Dave’s Dolphin Whale and Safari filmed the video shown below using a drone launched from an inflatable boat.
In what is believed to be the largest dolphin pod recently observed, an estimated 100,000 dolphins were sighted in 2013 off the coast of San Diego in a super-megapod estimated to be five miles wide.
"When you see something like that it is truly beyond belief. They were coming from all directions. You could see them from as far as the eye can see,” said Captain Joe Dutra of Hornblower Cruises to NBC. "I’ve seen a lot of stuff out here… but this is the biggest I’ve ever seen."