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Yesterday evening we stopped at a favourite restaurant for dinner, pausing for a couple of hours as we drove up the Pacific Coast Highway. It was a gloriously beautiful day, and we'd been watching the humpback whales head south all afternoon. Three lanes of whales were making their way down the coast, dozens, if not hundreds, of them. The plumes of their spouts dotted the horizon, white jets of spray against the silver blue sea.

Sitting on the deck at Nepenthe we could see the whales head past, black backs and white skin rising above the waves. One drifted onto its side, raising a fin to the air. They were coming in close, right uo to the kelp forests at the foot of the cliffs. Then suddenly they were gone.

To the south we could see a ruffled patch of water, as if a squall was disturbing the water. Oddly it was moving quite slowly, at least compared to the speed of a burst of wind. It was also keeping roughly the same distance from the coast, paralleling the rocky shoreline. Someone who'd seen it earlier said it was dolphins, chasing a huge school of sardines. It wasn't the usual pod of five or ten or fifteen - this was a dozen or more pods working together, a swarm of hundreds of dolphins.

The sun had just set by the time they came to Nepenthe, a roiling mass of black sleek bodies rising and falling out of the sea, of sharp fins and exuberant leaps.

As always my camera was ready.

Sunset Dolphin Swarm

Click through to the full size image to see just how many dolphins there were.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
stevegreen
Jan. 15th, 2009 09:20 am (UTC)
That's an astounding sight. Looks like a single huge creature moving beneath the surfase.
lil_shepherd
Jan. 15th, 2009 07:30 pm (UTC)
Your photos make me feel so damn inadequate, Simon. Please, keep 'em coming.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )