Droid Catches Dolphin Stampede on Film (Video)

dolphinOne man has captured rare video footage of dolphin stampedes. He caught the footage using a droid to get a unique view that cannot be seen from boats. He has condensed the aerial footage into a five-minute film that highlights the experience.

Captain Dave Anderson, owner of Captain Dave’s Dolphin & Whale Watching Safari in Dana Point, CA launched a remote-controlled drone from an inflatable boat to catch the rare dolphin footage. The drone does not look like anything more than a cheap toy helicopter, but once it is launched, it is able to take powerful footage of the dolphin stampedes and sheds light on how they travel.

Photos and videos taken by land or boat only tell half of the story. Clips may include one or several dolphins swimming near the surface or jumping from the ocean and leaping into the air, but they do not capture the breath-taking views of the aerial camera. The droid is able to provide a different type of footage that shows all of the dolphins under the water. It reveals how many of them actually travel together and how they stampede through the ocean.

The footage reveals how dolphins travel together in megapods and shows that the ones that can be seen leaping into the air represent only a fraction of the dolphins in a concentrated area. They actually stampede through the water as a group.

“Every time I see dolphins stampeding, I am in disbelief,” Anderson said. He cannot put the feeling into words. Rather than try to describe it, which would not do it justice, he films it so others can share the experience. The soaring footage also features a touching moment between a Humpback whale and its offspring.

The dolphins stay close in proximity of one another so they can share food sources, mate and protect themselves against predators. While they can often be seen by the dozen, megapods are not unusual. The footage that Anderson shares shows them traveling in huge groups. They can, in fact, contain hundreds of dolphin circling the same area.

Dolphins mainly feed on fish and squid. Traveling in megapods allows then to signal one another when they come across a source of food. Their biggest predators are humans, sharks and sometimes larger dolphins. By sticking together, they have a better chance of survival.

Anderson gets his footage off of the coast of Maui and near Dana Point, CA where he runs charter boats to see the dolphins and whales. He has only had to dive in after the drone once, at which point, he was more concerned about recovering the footage of the sea creatures than his safety or the condition of the drone.

“I’m just one guy with one drone,” Anderson said. He went on to explain that the technology is inexpensive and the experience is emotional. “So imagine, with all that creativity, how much we could see of nature if we all did this together?” Though he encourages others to join him and get their own footage of the dolphins, it is not recommended for amateurs, as the excursion can be dangerous.

By Tracy Rose


National Geographic
Huffington Post

3 Responses to "Droid Catches Dolphin Stampede on Film (Video)"

  1. pa wildman   March 5, 2014 at 7:35 pm


  2. Joe Parnarauskis   March 5, 2014 at 4:34 pm

    An amazing video. As a land lubber from Illinois, in this frozen world today, the video made my day. Thank you!

  3. joeblow2014   March 5, 2014 at 4:08 pm

    a ‘droid’ is not the same thing as a ‘drone’

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