Dolphin Stampede Awes Dana Point Whale Watchers [VIDEO]

 @crvillarreal
on March 01 2012 12:05 PM

Thousands of dolphins were captured on video off the coast of Dana Point, Calif. last week in what some are describing as a stampede.

Whale watchers aboard the boat Dana Pride, operated by the Dana Wharf marine touring company, recorded the spectacle with a handheld camera.

The surface of the ocean is teeming with dolphins arching their bodies in and out of the water, accompanied by the continuous cascading sounds of splashing. Seagulls fly overhead, silhouetted by the setting sun, which is reflected in golden light on the horizon.

The mega-pod of dolphins has been estimated at around 2,000, traveling at roughly 25 miles per hour, their top speed, according to Discovery News. A typical dolphin pod is around a dozen or so in number.

The use of the word stampede might suggest that the dolphins were frightened by or trying to escape from something, but it is not immediately clear in the video. Discover News science reporter Jennifer Viegas provides an analysis that supports this view, suggesting that the whale watching boat was the cause of the mass dolphin run.

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, wrote Viegas.

Alisa Schulman-Janiger, a researcher from the Los Angeles chapter of the American Cetacean Society told PeteThomasOutdoors.com, an outdoor sporting blog, said that she never witnessed dolphins exhibiting a negative reaction to a boat.

They either ignore the boat, usually if they're feeding, or they race over to the boat, she said.

Watch the video and see for yourself:

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