A 'super pod' of thousands of dolphins spanning seven miles was spotted and filmed by tourists off the coast of southern California last Thursday.
In what marine biologists are calling an incredibly rare sight, thousands, or possibly even tens of thousands, of dolphins swarmed together off the coast of San Diego. Capt. Joe Dutra of Hornblower Cruises told NBC Bay Area that his tour boat followed what he called a "super mega-pod" of common dolphins around noon while on his daily tour. Dutra, who called the sighting "truly spectacular," said the super pod measured more than seven miles long and five miles wide. He said that his boat followed the dolphins for more than an hour and that he's never seen anything like it before.
"They were coming from all directions, you could see them from as far as the eye can see," Dutra told NBC Bay Area. "I've seen a lot of stuff out here... but this is the biggest I've ever seen. Ever."
Victor Morassi, a passenger on the tour boat, recorded this amazing footage of the super pod.
Marine mammal expert Sarah Wilkin told NBC Bay Area that the reason why so many dolphins gathered in the area could have something to do with an abundant supply of food such as herring, squid and sardines.
"They're attracted to the same kind of thing, they might wind up in the same place," Wilkin said. She added that while dolphins usually travel in pods of 200 animals or less, super pods containing many more members are not unheard of.
"They're definitely social animals, they stick together in small groups," she said. "But sometimes, the schools come together."
Another southern California super pod was spotted and filmed by tourists on a whale safari off the coast of Dana Point last month.