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January 6, 2013

Amazing video of rare Dolphin Stampede as seen on national TV.

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On Sunday, January 6, a huge pod of about 1,000 Common Dolphins stampeded off the coast of Dana Point, California, like a herd of wild horses. This has happened twice recently though it is very rare. The line of wild dolphins could be seen from miles away churning up the water and, to the delight of whale watching passengers and crew aboard Captain Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Safari, the dolphins turned and stampeded directly over to the boat. Often this unusual behavior happens without warning or anything frightening them as was the case this time.

Ecstatic passengers aboard Captain Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Safari were able to see the spectacular show from a unique perspective too: below the surface from the Eye to Eye Underwater Viewing Pods! In the two Underwater Viewing Pods passengers are able to BE one of the pod and feel what’s it like to swim with wild dolphins without having to get wet.

Southern California has the greatest density of dolphins per square mile than anywhere on earth. This includes nearly 450,000 common dolphins like the ones in this video. Dana Point is one of the best places in the world to see one of these large mega-pods that can number in herds of up to 10,000. Porpoising is their fastest mode of travel as there is less resistance in air than water.

In addition to incredible dolphins, Dolphin Safari whale watchers met several gray whales making their annual migration to Baja, California. At one point the herd of stampeding dolphins adjusted their course and headed right at the gray whales! Don’t worry for the whales though, they avoided the dolphins who were of no threat and are continuing their journey south.

There has never been a case of a dolphin being struck by a whale watching boat prop in the history of whale watching in Southern California, as far as I am aware. If this ever occurred the passengers who love dolphins as much as we do would immediately report it. And with social media everyone would know. We have deep water off California and the dolphins are completely aware of our prop and that it is moving. They can and do easily stay away if they choose too, though most nearby dolphins come over to the front of any passing boat to surf the pressure wave created by the boat moving through the water.

When we first started whale watching many years ago we had the same concerns and asked the government body in charge of such things, NOAA, if we should take any special precautions with our propellers, etc., and they told us that they had never had a report of a dolphin being struck by a prop in our area and not to worry about this. We would never do anything to hurt these animals, which I have personally risked my life to save. And anyone who continues to believe so has never been out with us to see what we do. Or is simply ill informed, like we once were.