Super Mega Dolphin Pod: Watch 100,000 Dolphins Stampede Like 'Herd Of Wild Horses' Off San Diego Coast [VIDEO]

By Jason Van Hoven on February 18, 2013 3:28 PM EST

Super mega dolphin pod
Thursday's super mega dolphin pod had dolphins swimming up to 25 miles per hour, according to Dave Anderson, the captain of Capt. Dave's Dolphin and Whale Safari. (Photo: Creative Commons)

A "super mega dolphin pod" graced passengers of a tour boat off the coast of San Diego on Thursday, according to reports.

The Los Angeles Times reports that when the "super mega dolphin pod" group was spotted, the tour boat followed it for more than an hour. Capt. Joe Dutra of Hornblower Cruises said that while he'd seen large pods of dolphins before, he had never seen a dolphin pod like the one he and his passengers saw -- one that was seven miles long and five miles wide, which is why he dubbed it a "super mega" dolphin pod.

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"They were coming from all directions," Dutra said. "You could see them as far as they eye can see. I've seen a lot of stuff out here, but this is the biggest [pod] I've ever seen, ever."

Guests aboard the tour boat started screaming and pointing on Thursday when they first saw the super mega dolphin pod, filled with adult and juvenile common dolphins that Dutra estimated to be about 100,000 in total.

Dave Anderson, the captain of Capt. Dave's Dolphin and Whale Safari, said that in the decades that he has spent on the water and out among Southern California's dense dolphin population, the super mega dolphin pod is a phenomenon that he has rarely encountered.

"It's one of those things you can hope for it, but you can't plan for it," he said. "It's one of the most amazing things I've ever seen, and I've seen a lot of beautiful and interesting things" on the water.

Anderson also said that amid the super mega dolphin pod, he felt like he was in the midst of a herd of wild horses. At some points, he added, the dolphins reached speeds of more than 25 miles per hour, outpacing his own boat.

Marine mammal expert Sarah Wilkin said that a "feeding frenzy" could have sparked the super mega dolphin pod. And, although dolphins typically travel in groups of 200 or less, Wilkin said, "super-pods" are not unheard of.

"They're attracted to kind of the same thing, they might wind up in the same place," she said. "They're definitely social animals. They stick together in small groups. But sometimes, the schools come together."

The super mega dolphin pod in San Diego is of a higher level from the dolphin pod that was caught on video in January off Dana Point. In that pod, about 1,000 common dolphins rapidly churned across the waters off Dana Point.

Below is a clip of the super mega dolphin pod in action last week.

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