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Capt. Dave's Weekly Ocean Report
As seen in the Orange County Register/Dana Point News May 19, 2005
Story by Captain Dave Anderson

The word on the water this week is common, common dolphin that is, a terrible name for a beautiful animal. With over 400,000 of them off our coast they are the most prevalent marine mammals. This week we had several megapods of common dolphins in our area. We were following one such pod last Friday when the whole pod of approximately a thousand dolphins coagulated into a tight group and then began speeding up. Suddenly they began charging up the coast tearing up the ocean all around them. When one witnesses this you are in awe.

Of all the things I have ever seen in the ocean, being in the middle of a mega pod when they are all leaping completely out of the water, in full speed porposing, stands out as one of the most awe inspiring. Photos do not do it justice, though I am including one I took. Imagine being in a jeep, riding in the middle of a herd of stampeding horses out on a flat desert plain and you have some idea of the moment. I pulled out my video recorder, held it as steady as I could and watched through the viewfinder listening to the sounds. What I saw on the tiny monitor was so beautiful it brought tears to my eyes. Everyone on the usually noisy boat fell silent, as for just a moment; we were part of this stampeding herd.

My wife asks me how I can enjoy what I am seeing if I am busy filming or photographing it. It is difficult to explain but I really do enjoy it and I find the experience is even more satisfying when I am able, as I did on Friday, to come home and share this moment on tape with my family.

It is a challenge to get good photographs and footage on a rocking boat with animals that appear and disappear quickly, and not at all where you hoped or expected. Sometime it can be very frustrating, but overall I enjoy the challenge. I think there is something built into us that makes us want to share our experiences with others. It is not enough for me to experience it. I want others to know and to experience it as well, which is why I started Dolphin Safari, and why I make my films and why I write this column. And it is why I saw so many of my passengers using their cell phones to tell friends and relatives who will never really be able to properly visualize what we all witnessed.

This week we also got a report of several fin whales about twenty miles out and our first report of blue whales in the area seven miles out, unfortunately we did not see them ourselves and we did not see any gray whales this week either. We did see bottlenose dolphin and also a Mola mola, which is a giant ocean sunfish. We haven't been seeing very many of the Mola's for a while so between them and the blue whales it's beginning to look a lot like summer.

- Capt. Dave Anderson

Capt. Dave Anderson runs Capt. Dave's Dolphin & Whale Safari out of Dana Point Harbor. He recently completed the award winning documentary film "Wild Dolphins and Whales of Southern California." Capt. Dave will be sharing his photos and stories and letting us know what he and other skippers are seeing off the Orange County coast.

For a daily log of sightings see or call 949 488 2828.



Captain Dave's Dolphin & Whale Safari
24440 Dana Point Harbor Drive
Dana Point 92629 (949)488-2828


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