I’ve been lucky enough to travel to a lot of far-flung places and I’ve seen my share of amazing things. But this hour-long event captured in the video above was one of the most beautiful, humbling and amazing things I have ever seen in my entire life. I was so dumb struck that I could hardly put the camera in front of my face to capture it…
Last month my crew and I were sailing with Mike Horn off the coast of South Africa. We are working in collaboration with a visionary company called Polyform who are helping Mike and I bring the beauty and wonder of our oceans to as many people as possible.
It was about an hour’s sail south of Capetown, cutting through the water on Mike’s 110-foot sailboat Pangaea, when “it” appeared. At first, on the horizon, we noticed what appeared to be a giant ball of bait fish. The water boiled for literally a mile in every direction…only as it approached at the speed of a swift wave did we see first a nose, then another, then a dorsal fin and then a thousand of them, then more. Only then did we realize we were experiencing the rare “superpod” of dolphins. Not dozens, not hundreds, but thousands of them — so thick you could have walked across their backs had they been game for it.
As they approached our boat and quickly surrounded us, our cameras were blazing…every camera, iPhone, point-and-shoot, DSLR, GoPros, every camera imaginable was firing off frames…until we realized that they were with us, and that the moment was actually too rare to shoot photos. After just a few minutes, we all put down our cameras, we stopped talking, and we simply took in the beauty with our eyes. In all of my days as a photographer, there have only been a handful where I’ve been witnessing / pariticpating in an event like this and simply stopped shooting to take it in. This was one of those moments.
In the few minutes we did shoot, we were able to get the footage to make this video above. And while it’s impossible to truly convey the magic of this experience – I hope these clips give you just a little sliver of what it’s like to encounter something so rare and stunning – especially when you least expect it. I think Mike does a good job of trying to communicate this with his little voiceover we cut into the video. Once you see something like this – you are truly marked for life.
The next step. YOUR next step.
After the experience, we spoke with Doreen Gurrola, an instructor of marine sciences at the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, CA, who told us these were “common dolphins” or Delphinus delphis. As my crew learned more from her about these dear creatures, my thoughts went…
// …to the mindblowing documentary film, The Cove (Oscar winner for Best Feature Documentary.) If you haven’t seen it, watch it. You’ll love me and hate me for the recommendation.
// …to my friends at 1% For the Planet where I’m an ambassador along with musician, Jack Johnson, and pro surfer, Dan Ross. Please give 1% For The Planet a donation. They are an amazing organization and can use your help. $1, $20, $100. Anything will help them. And then they connected me with…
// Leilani Munter, is also an ambassador for 1% for the Planet. She says, “I am using my voice and my race car to address environmental issues by trying to educate and engage 75 million race fans and hopefully inspire them to rethink their day-to-day habits. I am a big believer in not preaching to the choir.” Amen. Most recently, Leilani has teamed up with the Oceanic Preservation Society and Louie Psihoyos, the director of “The Cove”, on his new film called “The Heist” about species extinction. Bringing the message to the masses is their mission. Their kickstarter project is just thousands away from becoming a funded project. Let’s put them over the edge and give them money here. “We can’t say much about what we are doing, but it will be a big event, something people will definitely remember and will be equally as inspiring as the first film.”
// …which led me back to The Cove website where I found a wonderfully simple directive on what YOU can do take action to preserve, protect, and help these cool creatures and our planet:
5 Things You Can Do Now
1. Sign our petition to help save Japan’s dolphins
2. Help Save Japan Dolphins’ efforts on the front lines
3. Learn more about dolphins in captivity
4. Support the filmmakers with your donation
5. Learn more about what’s happening in Taiji
(Taiji is the location that The Cove uncovered as a slaughtering trap in Japan.)
Thank you for reading all of this. If you’ve been moved by this at all, if you’re not able to donate, then you can still help by sharing this post, this video with your friends. Also, huge thanks to Zoe Keating – check out the gorgeous music accompanying this video get it here on iTunes. Many thanks, much #respect.