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1,500-strong dolphin super pod spotted.

ONE of the largest-ever groups of dolphins in British waters has been spotted off the Welsh coast.

Nature lovers went on a boat trip hoping to spot a dolphin or two - and were amazed to see 1,500 swimming in a "super pod".

The lucky dolphin-spotters watched a mile-long procession of adults and their young as sea temperatures warm up in the summer heatwave.

Witness Cliff Benson yesterday said: "In wildlife terms this was like winning the lottery. It was mind-blowing. I don't expect to see anything like that again in my lifetime."

Marine experts believe the dolphins and their young were hunting a huge "bait ball" of small fish.

Eight volunteer dolphin spotters from wildlife charity Sea Trust were carrying out a survey off Pembrokeshire when they witnessed the spectacle.

Mr Benson, Sea Trust's founder, described a "living wall" of adult and baby dolphins under their boat He said: "They just kept on coming, pod after pod, passing by the boat. Some came and looked at us but most just kept on going.

"The super pod must have con-sisteof many smaller pods joined together to chase a huge bait ball of fish. It was similar to David Attenborough's footage of a super pod off the coast of South Africa.

"But this was happening just a few miles off our coastline - it was a wonderful thing to see."

Retired insurance manager Richard Crossen, 56, was on the boat and took pictures of the super pod. He said: "There were literally hundreds and hundreds leaping out of the water all around us. We felt so lucky."

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SUPER SIGHT: A pod of dolphins speeds through the waves PICTURE: Richard Crossen
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jul 1, 2009
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