Thousands of Dolphins Seen Off Coast of San Diego

by on February 16, 2013 · 4 comments

in Environment, Ocean Beach, San Diego

dolphins 1000s 2-14-13 insd

Antonio Ramirez who was aboard a Hornblower Cruise on Thursday 2/14/13 snapped this photo of the dolphins swimming in a “super mega-pod.” 

Hornblower Cruise Captain Claims He Saw 100,000 Dolphins Last Thursday, Feb. 14th

By Sarah Grieco / / February 16, 2013

Thousands of dolphins spanning across 7 miles of ocean were sighted off the coast of San Diego on Thursday, a boat captain told NBC 7 San Diego.

Capt. Joe Dutra of Hornblower Cruises said he saw a “super mega-pod” of common dolphins Thursday around noon while he was on his daily tour. He said the pod was more than 7 miles long and 5 miles wide.

Dutra said the boat tour followed the pod for more than an hour and said he’s never seen anything like it.

“When you see something that is honestly truly beyond belief,” the captain said.

Guests aboard the boat started screaming and pointing when they first saw the school of adult and juvenile common dolphins. Dutra estimated there were about 100,000 dolphins swimming in the area.

“They were coming from all directions, you could see them from as far as the eye can see,” he said. “I’ve seen a lot of stuff out here… but this is the biggest I’ve ever seen, ever.”

Marine mammal expert Sarah Wilkin said the reason the large pod might be there is because there’s plenty of food in the area, including sardines, herring and squid.

“They’re attracted to kind of the same thing, they might wind up in the same place,” she said.

Though dolphins typically travel in groups of 200 or less, Wilkin said “super-pods” are not unheard of.

“They’re definitely social animals, they stick together in small groups,” she said. “But sometimes, the schools come together.”

Dutra, who’s been boating for decades, said he felt lucky to enjoy such a rare phenomenon.

“You had to be there to experience it,” he said. “It was truly spectacular.”


{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

jeffrey burkes February 16, 2013 at 10:50 pm

wish i could have seen it


mr.rick February 18, 2013 at 10:06 am

Whenever humans gather in numbers this large it is for some common purpose. Pehaps this is the case with these guys? It could be a form of Dolphin protest and the object of their protest (us) is just too ignorant to get the message. Perhaps if we put ourselves in the Dolphin state of mind we could speculate as to the point they are trying to get across. For some reason I doubt we would be enlightened enough to fathom the reasons. We should work on this.


adelaide February 20, 2013 at 8:01 am

you know there is always a reason for everything ,maybe it’s our job to figure this one out.They must be trying to tell us something.where are all those people who studied up on how to understand dolphines????????


Frank Gormlie February 20, 2013 at 3:04 pm

Make sure you see the video embedded on our home page of this incredible dolphin scene.


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