By Crystal Chung @crystalkchung
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Photographer, Silke Schimpf and her husband Rainer were treated to the rare display when the superpod raced passed their boat.
The dolphins can be seen leaping out of the water around the boat and splashing around in the horizon.
Silke, 47, said: “The sheer number of dolphins was mind blowing, and it is an absolute privilege to see and experience these gentle creatures hunt and teach their offspring on their own hunting skills."
Silke and her dive tour operator husband estimated that there were around 600 of the common dolphin swimming around their boat, but in order to take the pictures the couple had to work quickly due to the speed of the dolphins.
The size of superpods vary depending on species, habitat and social structure and will often form when there is an abundance of food or for protection against larger animals.
“It takes a lot of experience and practice to be able to capture the speed and elegance of these speedy common dolphins.
"Not only a professional camera and lens is essential, but also sea legs and a great skipper with equivalent experience since the skipper needs to line you up with the light and the dolphin to enable the right moment on the camera,” said Silke.
“You have to watch the swimming behaviour, its like a wave rhythm when they come on the surface to breath out.”
The couple followed the pod of dolphins for over four hours as they travelled around Port Alfred, Eastern Cape.
Silke said: “We were 50 metres away, but at times the dolphins would come and bow ride the wave of the boat, it’s their ocean and they decide on how close you can get to them."
Superpods are a rare sight, however, and the swarming dolphins do not always stick around to give spectators a full show.
As social creatures, dolphins live in pods and family groups - which usually contain between two and 40 members - but sometimes they will form larger pods with hundreds or even thousands of dolphins.
Silke said: “Dolphins are the most beautiful animals of the ocean, they are one with the ocean and their movements are so impressive, elegant and fascinating.
“As a conservation photographer I’d like to get the message out through my pictures that these animals need our attention and protection so generations to come can enjoy them as well.”