Changes in the animal kingdom: super mega-pod of dolphins spotted off coast of California
February 17, 2013 – CALIFORNIA - Thousands
of dolphins spanning across seven 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 seven miles long and five 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.”
Whale and dolphin watching tours have done particularly well this year,
with dozens of animal sightings reported.
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