Dolphin Stampede! Thousands of Dolphins Filmed Racing Together Along the California Coast

April 13, 2021 at 4:04 pm

Whale watchers get a special surprise when thousands of dolphins swim alongside their boat for four hours!

Tourists in Dana Point, California got more than they paid for on a whale watching cruise a couple of weeks ago. In addition to a blue whale, they saw not two, not three, but thousands of dolphins swimming alongside their boat.

The “mega-pod” consisted of at least 1000 dolphins, according to, and “thousands,” according to Captain Dave’s Dana Point Dolphin & Whale Watching Safari.

The dolphins raced alongside the boat in a tight pack for four hours!

Most schools or “pods” of dolphins consist of a handful to a few dozen dolphins at most, but occasionally hundreds or even thousands get together for what appears to be a giant dolphin party.

The “party” can last for a few hours or a few days, breaking up and coming back together over and over again, and usually consists of between 50 and 400 individuals.

A group of 1000 or more is a rare occurrence, according to marine mammalogist Nick Kellar, who says his team in La Jolla, California, only sees a group that large about once in every hundred dolphin-school sightings.

Asked why dolphins would form such a large “herd,” Kellar said it’s probably for similar reasons other animals, like bison, engage in herding behavior – to avoid predators, mate and increase foraging success.

“While the blue whale was understandably the highlight of our weekend, spending time with thousands of common dolphins, who were at times ‘stampeding,’ definitely comes in a close second!” Captain Dave wrote on Facebook. “Dana Point made famous the dolphin ‘stampede.’ They occur spontaneously and anytime during the year.”