These playful bottlenose dolphins in the above video are surprisingly close to the massive blue whale swimming nearby.
Captain Dave Anderson offers an explanation:
"The crew caught on tape an amazing interspecies encounter of a small pod of bottlenose dolphins catching a ride, actually surfing, on the front of a giant blue whale,” he said. "This kind of a free ride is possible for these dolphins by positioning themselves in front of this rare and endangered whale and riding the pressure wave created by the force of this giant moving through the water."
Here's more from Anderson:
This type of surfing behavior is usually seen when dolphins ride the pressure wave created in front of a boat. However, this time the dolphins were having fun and “surfing” the largest animal in the world, a blue whale.
Even though blue whales and bottlenose dolphins coexist in some of the same oceans, they do not run in the same social circles and are not typically seen together, making this a unique and memorable whale watching encounter for all.
Bottlenose dolphins, the species that is famously known for portraying “Flipper”, are about 8 to 12 feet long. In comparison a blue whale can reach lengths of up to 100 feet! The whale in this video was probably 70 to 80 feet long. Bottlenose dolphins are one of five difference species of wild dolphins seen regularly in the waters off of Orange County. Southern California has more oceanic dolphins per square mile than anywhere else in the world.
Southern California also hosts the largest concentration of blue whales in the world during the summer months. Between June and October these endangered animals migrate to Orange County waters to feed on krill, a small shrimp-like crustacean.