This past week has been full of excitement at the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California. The grounds are a known hot-spot for flocking sea creatures, who regularly pop by the Pacific coast in Monterey this time of year as they journey between Mexico and the San Francisco Bay area.
Therefore, there’s no surprise that locals and tourists who want to catch a glimpse of the passing dolphins and whales make a habit of coming down to the California shoreline to enjoy the sights.
But over the past week Monterey residents got to witness something truly remarkable, as a giant superpod numbering hundreds of dolphins came to hang out along the bay, reports NPR.
In a rare occurrence, the magnificent mammals came extremely close to shore and could be spotted swimming along Monterey Bay as they chased entire schools of fish.
The incredible sight was even caught on camera by an aquarium employee, who filmed the superpod on Monday just off of Point Pinos in Pacific Grove.
The spectacular footage (given above) was uploaded on YouTube by the Monterey Bay Aquarium on Wednesday and shows dozens of short-beaked common dolphins (Delphinus delphis) hot on the tails of small fish, racing to corral and catch their prey.
“There are few things more magical in this world than hundreds of dolphins racing through the wild Monterey Bay on a foggy fall morning,” aquarium officials wrote in the video description, noting that the footage is being played back at half speed.
— ScubaGearReviewer (@scubadivergear) September 8, 2018
According to the Daily Mail, the stunning video was captured by the aquarium’s social media content creator, Patrick Webster, who had taken a boat out along with a friend to test an antenna.
The sources report that the pod was racing toward the feeding grounds of a whale group nearby, flocking to the area to munch on leftover fish.
Webster described his fantastic encounter with the dolphin superpod as seeing the ocean “come alive.”
“It was one of the most amazing experiences to see the water be alive with squeaking and splashing dolphins.”
As he explained, dolphins often travel in pods of up to a few dozen individuals. Sometimes, two or more of these pods come together to increase their odds of finding food, giving rise to dolphin superpods.
This particular superpod that spent the week at Monterey Bay Aquarium was estimated to be made up of more than 1,000 dolphins, all swimming together as they hunted for fish.
Later during the week, the aquarium’s Twitter account shared more news about the superpod, announcing that the dolphins have been spotted again.
“The superpod of common dolphins we saw over Labor Day weekend just did another pass by the back deck of the Aquarium! It wasn’t just a fluke!” the Monterey Bay Aquarium tweeted on Thursday.
????????????‼️The superpod of common dolphins we saw over Labor Day weekend *just* did another pass by the back deck of the Aquarium! It wasn't just a fluke! pic.twitter.com/fdtqyilbMn
— Monterey Bay Aquarium (@MontereyAq) September 6, 2018
“The event isn’t uncommon per se — it’s a yearly occurrence, we have seen these superpods from the back deck at the Monterey Bay Aquarium this time of year before,” Webster said in a statement. “However, it is fairly rare to see them this close to shore and so readily observable by people, these gatherings are often found way offshore.”