This species is the biggest dolphin we typically see off of Newport Beach. They are the same type featured in the TV show “Flipper”: Gray, friendly, and some of the smartest animals in the ocean! There are actually two sub-types of bottlenose in our waters. An inshore variety is seen almost always within 1,000 feet of the coastline and occasionally in the bay. These bottlenose are in smaller pods of 2-10 animals and typically aren’t the most boat friendly dolphin, the reason being due to their proximity to shore boats just don’t elicit a “special” reaction because they see them every day. On the other hand, the offshore bottlenose dolphin travels in larger groups of 8-50 and can be a LOT of fun to watch! They love to jump, play in the wake, and surf the bow of our boat. You can often touch them while leaning over the side. They are usually larger and darker than their inshore counterparts, and we start seeing the approximately 2 miles offshore.
Pacific White-Sided Dolphin
All dolphin are beautiful, but this species truly takes the cake. With it’s striking white “suspender stripes” running along the top side, and its distinct dorsal fin, Pacific White-Sided Dolphin are such a joy to see! Unlike other dolphin species, their presence in Newport Beach is seasonal, with November- May being the time of year that we can view them. Usually found in smaller pods of 4-12 animals, they are eager to play with the boat, especially loving to ride the bow.
Last but certainly not least, are the common dolphin! “Commons” are our year-around staple off Newport Beach, and it’s a shame their name describes them so generically and boring. These are super special animals, almost ALWAYS eager to play with our boat, appearing in the largest groups, and available to see almost every day of the year! The average sized pod of common dolphin is about 50 animals, but its not “uncommon” to see 200 or 300, even 1,000 in a group. They are superb jumpers and swimmers, always impressing us with their agility and playfulness.