February 21, 2013
Photo of the 'super mega-pod' by Antonio Ramirez, a passenger aboard the Hornblower Cruise that spotted the dolphins last Thursday.
The giant pod of common dolphins (Delphinus delphis) was sighted by a tour boat last Thursday. The captain of the vessel, which is operated by Hornblower Cruises, said that the pod measured seven miles long and five miles wide.
“When you see something that is honestly truly beyond belief,” Captain Joe Dutra told NBC San Diego. “They were coming from all directions, you could see them from as far as the eye can see.”
“I’ve seen a lot of stuff out here... but this is the biggest I’ve ever seen, ever.”
Dutra said the boat followed the dolphins for more than an hour.
Marine mammal expert Sarah Wilkin with NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service told NBC San Diego that the large pod could indicate there is an abundance of food in the area.
“They’re attracted to kind of the same thing, they might wind up in the same place,” she was quoted as saying. “They’re definitely social animals, they stick together in small groups. But sometimes, the schools come together.”