Dolphin Stampede: In Danger or Just Having Fun?

By March 5, 2012 Ocean News
Dolphins Like to Bow Ride Along Side of Boats


Dolphin Stampede Video

A video of hundreds of Dolphins swimming beside a Whale Watching Ship off the Coast of Orange County, California went viral on You Tube last week. The video, named Dana Point Dolphin StampedeDana Wharf garnered over 1 million hits. The Video depicts a great scene in what seems to be at the end of a Hollywood Movie as the Whale Watching Ship sailed towards the sunset surrounded by hundreds of Dolphins bow riding beside the ship.

Check out the video below:

The Public Reaction

The video really reminded me of how great the Ocean can be, where Dolphins can be seen swimming along side the bow of a ship. I’ve had the fortunate opportunity to see this wonderful event happen a number of times while at sea in the Gulf Of Mexico. Every time I witnessed this event, I felt overwhelmingly connected to the Ocean and Dolphins to the point where I didn’t even want to the bow riding to stop. It was like a natural high. I never wanted it to end as I could watch it forever. So it was great to see a video sharing this beautiful event with the rest of the world.

So you can imagine my surprise when I read the comments on the You Tube video. Many of the comments were negative where some people wrote in that the Dolphins were trying to escape the Whale Watching Ship as they suggested the ship was stressing them out. Other comments made references that the scene reminded them of Taiji, Japan. An finally, some people insulted the Whale Watchers on the ship calling them “Rednecks”. I understand that viral videos often get weird comments positive and negative, but I was so disappointed to see that so many people had negative things to say about the videos. Here are some of the comments:

hunting dolphins alot of fish died that day

I imagine the boat’s propeller would have sliced & diced a fair few.

They’re obviously scaring the dolphins with the boat. And the birds, look! The birds are flying away in terror because selfish humans are nearby. Probably millions- if not billions of fish suffered cardiac arrest as this convoy from hell passed over their once-peaceful ocean.

Just to make things clear, Dolphins are known to bow ride (swimming along side the bow of a ship for fun) quite a bit in the Ocean and they have been doing it for centuries (maybe even longer!). Dolphins can often outrun a ship in the Ocean as long as the ship, or ships, are not trying to herd the Dolphins in a Cove for slaughter like in Taiji, Japan. When a ship is just running its course, a pod of dolphins will swim along side many boats zig zagging in front of the boat on their will. So they are never in any danger when they do this. People need to relax when it comes to some Ocean related behaviours such as bow riding.

What really surprises me is that people are always thinking the worst of a situation when the subject in on the Oceans. YES! The Ocean is in trouble and we have many issues with which we must address; however, there are great behaviours, like Bow riding that build on the connection we have with the Ocean.

My point of this article is to say: Stay Positive and We Will Overcome These Issues One By One

Question of the Day

What did you think of the video when you first saw it; dod you think it was just bow riding or an escape response to the Whale Watching Ship chasing after them?

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Join the discussion 6 Comments

  • Thawan Paruggamanont says:

    It’s obviously bow riding. And that was a beautiful video clip which really shows how beautiful the oceans and the world can be… simply amazing. Concerning the weird youtube comments, its just a shame as it shows the lack of knowledge people have about the oceans or “bow riding”. Some of the comments are simply ignorant… but since it’s from youtube, where lots of weird comments happen, I wouldn’t take it too seriously

  • Mark Berninger says:

    If I had to guess this is most likely a group of common dolphins, and this behavior is not out of the odinary, it was just caught on video, and the birds that are “flying away in terror” are trying to follow the dolphins because they make it easier for the birds to catch fish when they surround a school of baitfish. Great Video, it is nice to see people with sense and inteligence explain thing rather than people just assuming that something bad is always happening. Keep up the good work and I keep sharing your videos

  • Andrew Lewin says:

    Thanks Mark! It does feel good to explain some of these videos from a ecological perspective. I do love the passion of some people who put the negative comments, but the negativity is not added to the right place. Yes, it sucks to see videos of people like Mark the Shark killing another shark for fun and I hate to watch animals being hurt (finned or killed); however, those videos should be used to inspire action from the public or the people who care! Turn the negative video into a positive outcome.

    I hope to focus Speak Up For Blue into more of an action website in the near future!

  • Ed says:

    As a former oceanographer I witnessed a similar large pod of common dolphins near the Farallon Islands, Ca, in 1975. I estimated 300 dolphins in the pod. We were motoring south at 10 knots staying to our course when we encountered them. The dolphins were moving at a leisurely pace when we first saw them about 1/4 mile to our starboard. All of a sudden the whole pod took off at high speed in multiple directions, some crossing our bow (out-swimming our speed with ease) and others moving away from us. We didn’t see any predators (orca or white sharks, which are the only things that could hunt dolphins in that area) and clearly our vessel was not the reason for change of speed. The dolphons just ALL decided to go into warp speed together and did so in a matter of seconds. As you see in the video it is an impressive sight to behold.

  • […] you’ve been following any of the stories on Speak Up For Blue, you will know of examples of Ecotourism types working hard to protect Ocean species because they […]

  • KoolBreeze420 says:

    My only reaction was curiosity and that brought up many questions like. Does it make swimming easier for them?

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