Catalina Island vacations frequently begin before travelers even arrive in Avalon, especially if a whale or dolphins are spotted from the Catalina ferry. Frolicking dolphins and massive whales are often spotted between the mainland and the island, with more than a dozen species regularly spotted.
One of the more common sights are pods of Pacific bottlenose dolphins, which travel and hunt around the island year round. These dolphins usually travel in small pods of 20 or so animals and are often eager to ride bow waves. They hunt fish and are particularly fond of squid which spawn by the thousands in the waters around the island.
Careful observers are quick to note that the bottlenose dolphins seen around Catalina Island are quite different from the bottlenose dolphins they may have seen in a marine life park. Pacific bottlenose dolphins tend to be larger and darker than their Atlantic counterparts, the species most often trained to jump through hoops and leap for fish.
Wild Catalina Island dolphins aren’t nearly as predictable as their captive cousins, but seeing them provides a thrill that makes a Catalina Island getaway truly unforgettable.