The captain, Joe Dutra, of Hornblower Cruises, reported seeing a “super mega-pod” of common dolphins around noon when he was on his daily tour.
Dutra said that the pod was at least seven miles long and five miles wide, reports NBC News. He added that he has never seen anything like it. The tour group followed the pod for more than an hour.
When they first spotted the pod of adult and juvenile common dolphins, tour guests aboard the boat started screaming and pointing. There were an estimated 100,000 dolphins swimming in the pod. Dutra added:
“They were coming from all directions, you could see them from as far as the eye can see. I’ve seen a lot of stuff here … but this is the biggest I’ve ever seen, ever.”
Dolphins are social animals and typically travel in packs of 15 to 200, called pods, notes The Daily Mail. Experts have been unable to determine why thousands of dolphins would travel in a pod together. Marine expert Sarah Wilkin stated:
“They’re definitely social animals, they stick together in small groups. But sometimes, the schools come together.”
While a pod of this size is considered a once-in-a-lifetime event, a similar situation was reported the same time last year. An unspecified amount of dolphins was seen swimming about 65 miles off the San Diego coast. The massive pod could signal a previously undocumented migratory pattern.
For those who got to see the super-pod in action last week, Dutra commented, “You had to be there to experience it. It was truly spectacular.”
[Image via ShutterStock]