When people think of a dolphin, the bottlenose is the icon of them. The classic TV show "Flipper" used bottlenose dolphins and it is also the main species in captivity. Orange County has 2 eco-types of bottlenose: Inshore/coastal and offshore. These dolphin can reach 12 feet long and weigh around 1,000 pounds which makes them much larger than the common dolphin which we see here much more often. Bottlenose dolphin live around 40-50 on average and around 5 years 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 20-60. 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.