Orange County has sightings of inshore/coastal and offshore bottlenose dolphin. This dolphin species can be up to 12 feet long and weigh in around 1,000 pounds which makes them much larger than our typical sighting of common dolphin. Bottlenose live 40-50 years naturally and 5 years on average in captivity
Offshore Bottlenose Dolphin
Offshore type bottlenose are spotted around here occasionally in the summer when the water is warmer and will typically be at least a mile from the coast in pods of about 10-50. These bottlenose are almost always extremely playful with whale watching boats, if you come across these dolphin, you'll most likely see them leaping into the air and jumping out of the boat wakes.
Coastal Bottlenose Dolphin
Inshore or coastal bottlenose are typically seen within a quarter mile of the shore and in small pods of about 2-4 but occasionally will come together to form a larger pod for a short time, you might see them inside our harbors, from the pier, or from the beach. Only on rare occasions do they interact with boats and since they are usually cruising around near the shorebreak, whale watching vessels don't typically try to view them.