Drone Captures Dolphin Stampede Off Southern California

The quadcopter drones provide a wide-angle steady shot of the ocean world off California's coast

A camera attached to a quadcopter drone deployed over the Pacific captured a dolphin stampede last month off Southern California and provided several other unusual overhead views of ocean life.

The Go Pro camera-equipped quadcopter was launched from a small inflatable craft about six miles off Dana Point during the Jan. 16 dolphin stampede. Dave Anderson, of Capt. Dave's Dolphin and Whale Safari in Dana Point, said the stampede numbered into the thousands and provided "jaw-dropping footage" unlike anything he previously captured on video.

Anderson had to catch the expensive four-propeller DJI Phantom 2 by hand to retrieve the video. Since nearly losing a drone to the waters off Dana Point, he attached floatation devices to the quadcopters' skids.

"I get so nervous every flight over the water now, after the accident, my hands start shaking," Anderson said. "My wife says no more drones if I lose this one."

Anderson combined the dolphin video with other drone shoots, including three gray whales migrating off San Clemente and an overhead view of a whale calf and its mother in Maui. Watch the video above.

"Drones are going to change how we view the animal world," Anderson said in an email.

Earlier in January, about 1,000 dolphins were caught on several cameras as they stampeded near a Dolphin Safari whale watching boat off Dana Point. Watch that video below.


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