Here’s something you don’t see everyday – dolphins innocently frolicking in front of one of the most lethal killing machines in the history of naval warfare. This video shows a pod of dolphins playing with the nuclear attack submarine USS Newport News during a cruise for crew family members.
The dolphins are in no danger of being run over – quite the contrary, the underwater bow of the USS Newport News creates a pressure wave, pushing the dolphins and giving them a boost of forward momentum. The dolphins are pretty much surfing the same way humans do, with their very own artificial wave maker.
What do the dolphins get out of this? The simplest, and perhaps best explanation is that the dolphins are playing and just find it fun.
According to this submariner blog, 12 knots is the ideal speed for a submarine’s dolphin companions. Not too fast, not too slow, and the speed kicks up a decent bow wave for the dolphins to ride.
This article was originally written for and published by Popular Mechanics USA.