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article imageVideo: Spectacular dolphin stampede at Dana Point harbor

By JohnThomas Didymus     Mar 1, 2012 in Environment
Dana Point - A video showing a breathtaking stampede of common dolphins in the Californian ocean off the Orange County coast is going viral online. Tourists on a whale-watching tour filmed the dolphins, hundreds of them splashing in water alongside the boat.
Discovery News reports the footage was shot from a whale and dolphin watching boat called the Dana Pride, operated by the company Dana Wharf Whale Watching.
According to CBS News, the mega-pod of dolphins could number close to 2,000 and were swimming at around 25 miles per hour.
Discovery News quotes Ocean Institute, saying, "At times, these dolphins are found in tremendously large pod sizes of 5000 or more."
Some people have complained about the video, saying the dolphins were probably frightened. One YouTube viewer commented: ”Contrary to the idea that the dolphins are having a grand ol’ time, it’s more likely that the noise, vibration and water turbulence caused by the boat may have frightened the dolphins, which all reacted at once.”
Another view complained: “Do you really have to drive your boat through the middle of them?”
But Long Island Press quotes researcher Alisa Schulman-Janiger saying that she has never known dolphins to react negatively to a boat. Schulman-Janiger said: “They either ignore the boat, usually if they’re feeding, or they race over to the boat."
Dolphins appear to be playful animals. They are known to chase after boats for the fun of it. A viewer of the video on YouTube testifies: "Was out in a fishing boat off the coast and we had about a dozen come up and jump alongside us for a few minutes. They do this for fun, people. I just wish I could have as much fun as they do."
A scene from the documentary The Cove
Swimming with the dolphins in a scene from The Cove
Courtesy The Cove
image:51670:9::0
Another viewer says: "Had this happen to us on our way to Santa Cruz Island. They came to us and had a blast in the current the bow makes - they took turns. And others surfing the wake! They came to us joyfully; wanted to play. Silly to think they're being plowed through - this is about 1/8 of the speed they can go; could have left us in the dust in a nano-second had they wanted!"
Peter Thomas Outdoors also explains: "Apparently, many people are not familiar with a phenomenon that is spectacular, but not uncommon...The reality is, when large pods of common dolphins are close to a moving boat, it's virtually impossible to avoid these types of encounters. The mammals do seem to enjoy the interaction, and they're amazingly adept at avoiding moving vessels."
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