A pod of about 30 dolphins visited the Long Island Sound in Southold Sunday, much to the delight of a group on a tour from Manhattan to Montauk.
Captain Sebastian Head said he was leading a charter aboard the America II (US46), a 12-meter sailboat from the 1987 America’s Cup, when the group spotted the dolphins near Horton’s Point in Southold.
“I thought it could be tuna or porpoises or something,” he said. “As I started getting closer I realized they were dolphins. We wanted to make sure everyone could see what it was and take a look at it.”
The sighting occurred around 2 p.m. as the boat was making its way from a stop in Sag Harbor.
Head said he counted at least 30 bottle-nosed dolphins in the pod, and suspected that they may have been hunting Atlantic menhaden.
“I think it’s the early arrival of menhaden that are drawing them in,” he said. “We saw a lot of schools of bunker in the area and the way that they would breach the surface all at once made me think that they could be hunting.”
Head said he’s been sailing in the area since he was 6 years old and had never seen anything quite like it.
“I’ve been in the Sound my whole life, my best friend lives off of Horton’s Point and I live right between Kenney’s and McCabe’s beach, so I’ve been in that area for 25 years,” he said. “I’ve heard of porpoises in the area, but I’ve never seen or heard of this many dolphins like that … people’s parents have told me stories, but I’ve never seen anything like it. It was pretty remarkable. Everybody was pretty blown away.”