Mind Blowing Moment: Dolphin Encounter in South Africa

After some initial cheering and howling, no one said a word for the longest time. Silence and awe. Where there had been lively conversation just moments before – there was now only the sound of cameras clicking away and quiet sounds of appreciation. No one, including Mike Horn and the crew of the exploration vessel Pangaea, which has sailed close to 200,000 nautical miles in the last 4 years, had ever seen an event like we were witnessing: a gigantic super-pod of dolphins. Many thousand at least by our estimate.

When it started, was swaying back-and-forth 70 or so feet up on the mast of the Pangaea working shots of the deck below and the nearby coastline when it happened. The ocean off to my left, halfway to the horizon, began to boil. At first it looked like a massive bait event, little finger-sized fish, maybe a school of tuna feeding. But then the distinctive curve and graceful slicing in-and-out of the water revealed something unbelievable: Dolphins. Thousands upon thousands of dolphins. Like a stampede they were headed right for us. They moved behind us from port to starboard and then surrounded us on both sides. Dozens if not hundreds playing in the wake of the bow and stern alone – not counting the probably half mile or more swath of dolphins that lined the horizon… more than the eye could comprehend all around us.

Above is a quick iPhone video that Kate snagged and a snapshot from Jerard below – which truly cannot do justice for what we witnessed, but wanted to get something here on the blog from the road. We’ll do more with the “professional” footy we nailed when we get back to home base, but just wanted you to be among the first to know… Having experienced it, now trying to explain it but not succeeding.. it’s impossible to put it into words. Will plan to share more pictures (they say a thousand words you know…) asap. #Awesome

chase jarvis dolphin snapshot_photo jerard

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Next time, drag that camera in the water! Amazing results swimming with dolphins: https://vimeo.com/48036517

Neil Kemp says:

They are welcoming you to South Africa. Hope you enjoy your stay.

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Saboodemoyen says:

why can’t i be there with you…

Wonderful video!! awesome capture :)

Pete@123.com says:

Sounds like just another day in Cape Town to me. Wait until you see the whales up the cosat. And then there are the safaris and the big 5…. As we say.. ‘Nog a kak dag in Suid Afrika’.

Moe Kafer says:

It’s because you’re so popular Chase, even the dolphins want to hang with you!

brad says:

I live in South Africa and have surfed with dolphins around me more than a couple of times, less than a meter away, jumping off our boards swimming under water trying touch them and its the same every time MIND BLOWING!! Thanks Chase for all the inspiration and helping me take my photography to the next level… and just getting me off my butt!! Brad

Agustin says:

That’s how awesome our country is! Hope you enjoying your stay…

Danie Nel says:

Hehe, no wonder you were still buzzing when we saw you at the GrandDaddy on Tuesday. Amazing what the Atlantic has to offer down here.

Alex says:

In the Chase Jarvis pantheon of luck + good timing…OF COURSE you were 70 feet up a damn mast when the great dolphin super-pod came upon your vessel. Can’t wait to see the pro footage. Sounds like a truly epic encounter with nature.

Or maybe Erik is really Aquaman, and was just flexing his superpowers ;)

Sudheer says:


Benthin says:

Jealous! What an amazing experience, can’t wait to see more.

Like some kind of dolphin convention. Pretty great stuff.


faisal says:

Dolphins are always cool, so had to be.

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