July 27, 2012

Bottlenose Dolphins in Bodega Bay . . .

Bottlenose dolphin ~ Doran Beach, Bodega Bay, CA ~ Darris Nelson

Two women vacationing in Bodega Bay pointed out a pod of Bottlenose dolphins that were frolicking and fishing about seventy five yards offshore.

Susan from Texas & Anna-Alise from NV

It was overcast and the light was getting dim. Although the photos aren't the greatest, they do give you a sense of my experience. If you're patient you'll actually get a good sighting and action on the video.

The dolphins seemed to be fishing in two groups. I believe there was a total of six dolphins in the pod possibly more.


I watched and filmed from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. At about 5:30 my right contact dried up and folded in my eye and rolled back someplace that I wasn't able to find. I kept shooting hoping I was getting some worthwhile images. I called my husband at about 6:00 p.m. because I had a two mile walk ahead of me and I couldn't see my hand in front of my face! Besides, I knew he wouldn't want to miss this rare event.


Someday I might take the time to edit my photos and video but in the meantime they're straight out of my Canon SX 30 point and shoot.

Harbor seal checking out the commotion
It was a beautiful evening at Doran Beach . . .  



  1. AnonymousJuly 31, 2012

    Hello, I am so glad that I found this post. I was at Bodega Bay on July 20,2012 Friday. Just north of The Tides Resturant and Lucas Wharf,where we ended up having dinner,about a half mile north at the Sonoma Coast parking lot, I saw two dolphins very near to the shore. I couldn't believe my eyes, but fortunately my husband saw their fins as I yelled out to him. Otherwise, I don't think anyone would believe me. I am so glad that you posted these videos. I don't kinow why I typed in "Dolphins in Bodega bay" tonight, but I was still thinking about the experience and I came across this page. Thank you for validating my experience.
    It was truely a rare and beautiful experience for me since I live in the desert area of NM just south of Albuquerque.

    Once again thank you,
    41 Barela Rd.
    Belen, NM 87002

  2. Hello! I ran across this blog. My fiance and I are going to be married in California next year, just a small ceremony with a few friends. We are wanting to do it on the beach or somewhere nice in Bodega Bay. Do you have any suggestions? I know it gets foggy there at a certain point in the day, so we are unsure what the best time would be. :-)

    1. Congratulations Julie!

      I understand your desire to be married on the beach. My husband and I were married on the cliffs overlooking the beach in Mendocino in 2008. It was just the two of us, my son, and our minister . . . it was lovely. Here are a few options in beautiful Bodega Bay:

      Bodega Bay Lodge ~ http://www.bodegabaylodge.com/weddings.html
      Compass Rose Gardens are beautiful ~ http://www.compassrosegardens.com
      Sonoma Concierge to help with planning, etc. ~ http://sonomaconcierge.com
      Bodega Bay Chamber of Commerce ~ http://bodegabayca.org
      Sonoma County ~ Depending on the size of your wedding you may need permits. Check with the County of Sonoma ~ http://www.sonoma-county.org/index.htm

      Personally I would suggest an out-of-the-way spot away from crowds and gawkers. Week days would be the best. Our Fall weather is typically the most enjoyable IMHO. Very few foggy days, calm (no wind), warm and less crowds. Check here again and give me time to put some feelers out and thought into this and I will report back.

      Thanks you for visiting the blog : )

  3. Hello Arleen,
    I'm so pleased you found my blog!

    What a gift for you to see the dolphins as many people right here in Bodega Bay have never had your experience. From your description I'm guessing your dolphin sighting was off South Salmon Creek beach. A surfing friend told me that a pod of dolphins surrounded and 'surfed' with her for forty five minutes at Salmon Creek beach. She tells me that they typically come and check her out and then leave. This particular day a friend alerted her about a great white shark sighting . . . she had a sense that the dolphins were protecting her and I tend to agree.

    Thank you for documenting your dolphin experience here Arleen. I hope you'll visit the blog from time to time. I trust your visit to Bodega Bay was enjoyable and that you'll come back to visit again soon. Fall is my favorite time of year here.

  4. Hi i will be leaving tomorrow to spend the week there.I can't wait I
    love Dolphins i have never seen one so this has me so excited and it's my birthday so i hope they are still around for me too see.Thanks for sharing this.

    1. I've not seen the dolphins in several days but they're always around fishing. Count yourself lucky if you see them : ) Even if you miss the dolphins you'll likely see whales. We have a resident whale friends have fondly named 'Waldo'. We often spot him out from Pinnacle Gulch Beach and along Doran Beach. When you're here stop along Hwy. 1 and look for spouting. If you're here on Sunday between 10:00 & 1:00, come out to the Bodega Bay Community Center for our farmer's market. Our market boasts live music and lots of great food.

      Enjoy your stay on our beautiful Sonoma Coast. HAPPY BIRTHDAY! : )

  5. There are so many animal sightings there. Winner! I’ve never been to Bodega, but I can say it’s wonderful there. The dolphins are the living proof to that. The presence of such adorable creatures suggests that the water is in good condition. Plus, they probably don’t feel even a bit threatened by humans in the place. Nice! :)

    Donna Parsley

    1. Thanks for your uplifting comment Donna! Yes, it seems the critters of the sea are happy here in our little part of the world . . . we do cherish them. Come see us sometime, you will truly be happy you did : )


Thanks so much for taking the time to comment!