Alisa Manzelli, Global Animal

CALIFORNIA — A tour boat filled with passengers was taken by complete surprise last week after tens of thousands of dolphins spanning across seven miles of sea swarmed together off the coast of San Diego.

Photo Credit: Antonio Ramirez
An estimated 100,000 common dolphins were spotted off the coast of San Diego, California last Thursday. Photo Credit: Antonio Ramirez

As seen in a video uploaded to YouTube on Sunday, the boat’s passengers screamed and pointed as they witnessed what the ship’s captain called a “super mega-pod” jumping up and down in a feeding frenzy.

Capt. Joe Dutra of Hornblower Cruisestold NBC Bay Area that he spotted the estimated 100,000 common dolphins on Thursday around noon while he was on his daily tour. He said the pod was more than seven miles long and five miles wide.

“They were coming from all directions, you could see them from as far as the eye can see,” he said. “I’ve seen a lot of stuff out here… but this is the biggest I’ve ever seen, ever.”

Dutra said the boat tour followed the pod for over an hour and though he has been boating for decades, he claims he’s never seen anything like it.

“You had to be there to experience it,” he said.  “It was truly spectacular.”

Marine mammal expert Sarah Wilkin claimed the reason for the ‘super mega-pod’ might be due to the abundance of sardines, herring, and squid in the area.

“They’re attracted to kind of the same thing, they might wind up in the same place,” she said.

While dolphins typically travel in groups no larger than 200 at a time, pods with over 1,000 dolphins are quite a rare phenomenon.

Watch the spectacular footage below.

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