Patrick Webster, who has lived near Monterey Bay for 11 years, is no stranger to sea creatures. But this week was the first time he saw the ocean “come alive,” he said.
About 1,000 dolphins were racing along the shore in a “superpod,” jumping in and out of the water while chasing baitfish.
“It was one of the most amazing experiences to see the water be alive with squeaking and splashing dolphins,” Webster said. “They’ll hop up and take a look at you, and you can see they’re checking you out.”
Webster, who creates social media posts for the Monterey Bay Aquarium, was helping a friend test an antenna on a boat Monday when he spied the group. He and his friend followed the superpod — made of up several smaller groups of dolphins that typically travel in groups of about a dozen.
The dolphins led the boat to several whales that were lunge feeding and bubble netting, which occurs when whales blow bubbles around a school of fish to trap them. The dolphins swam in and out of the whales’ feeding area, picking up their leftovers, making for a spectacular show that Webster captured on video.
“They were just going to town,” Webster said. “It’s a super big deal to see so much wildlife all in the same spot…. For the animals, it’s probably just a regular day.”
The superpod has been hanging out in the bay for about a week, he said, adding that the large groups are not uncommon but usually do not swim so close to shore.
This is prime time for whale watching in the Monterey Bay and elsewhere in California, as the large mammals swim back and forth between Mexico and the San Francisco Bay and dolphins often are following along, Webster said.