While there certainly is a science that goes into whale watching, sometimes it's all about good luck and timing. One group of whale watchers in Newport Beach, California, got more than they bargained for, as they crossed paths with a large pod dolphins stampeding right next to their boat. Luckily, the entire thing was caught on camera.
In the video, thousands of dolphins can be seen swimming at quick speeds alongside a raft boat manned by local whale-watching company Newport Coastal Adventure. The gentle creatures were porpoising — jumping in and out of the water — as far as the eye can see. This alternating motion of leaping above the water, then submerging, helps the dolphins swim faster, as the air poses less resistance than the water, Jessica Roame, education programs manager with Newport Landing Whale Watching, said, according to CBS Los Angeles.
The reason why the dolphins were stampeding remains unknown, but there are several possibilities. They could have been evading predators, such as orcas or sharks, possibly catching up to a food source, or meeting with another pod of dolphins, Roame said.
According to Roame, Southern California is one of the best places in the world to spot a megapod of dolphins, as they spend all year just off the coast of Newport Beach. Other marine life often seen in the area includes humpback whales, fin whales, gray whales, and blue whales. Other species of dolphins, such as the bottlenose dolphin and Pacific white-sided dolphin, can also be spotted.
Though several species of dolphins can easily be seen year-round, marine life enthusiasts hoping to witness a whale should check the calendar to make sure their trip coincides with the best seasons. According to the Newport Coastal Adventure website, the best months to spot humpback whales are March, April, June, November, and December.
Jessica Poitevien is a Travel + Leisure contributor currently based in South Florida, but she's always on the lookout for the next adventure. Besides traveling, she loves baking, talking to strangers, and taking long walks on the beach. Follow her adventures on Instagram.
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