We were supposed to be on a whale watching trip.  At least that was the plan.  But guess what?  No whales.  Well, there were two humpbacks way in the distance, but we won’t count them cause’ I couldn’t really share it with you all.  It was looking like a really grim birthday in the Channel Islands, but then another sea mammal showed up!  And there were a lot of “em”.   So many in fact, that I hardly knew where to point the camera.  This was the gift of the common dolphin.

They’re really quite small.  Only 7-8 ft., but they look much smaller.  With a kind of yellow hourglass cris-cross around their sides, they tend to form large herds of about 50.  In particular, they like to bow and wake surf around fast moving boats and these were no exception.  In fact, they came racing out of the water as soon as they sensed we were near.  I think boats serve as a kind of catnip for these animals and they really seemed as if they couldn’t get enough of it.

The common dolphin (approximately three species exist) thrives worldwide.  As a species they face a variety of threats and are still hunted in some areas around the globe.  In the U.S. they’re a federally protected, although fisherman have been known to accidentally catch them in tuna nets.

In California, they serve as a marker species, signifying whether or not the ecosystem is still thriving and sustaining itself.  I can assume therefore, that the environment around the Channel Islands, due to its protection as a national park, seems fairly intact, although a number of factors regarding this local ecosystem are still being studied (such as kelp growth etc.)   Los Angeles and Southern California is an interesting place, and these dolphins are just one more example of the variety of wildlife that live in our home.