Whales, Dolphins, Seals, Oh My! Marine Mammals at California’s Central Coast

California coastal bottlenose dolphins off Avila Beach in California (photo by Beth Pratt)
Whales and other marine mammals have been sighted recently in abundance off the Central Coast of California-specifically Avila, Pismo and Seal Beaches. Photos and videos of humpback whales surfacing and surprising boaters and kayakers have gone viral, and visitors have flocked to the area to catch a glimpse of these magnificent animals. The San Luis Obispo Tribune featured an excellent article and great photos of the phenomena.

Watch a humpback whale surprising a kayaker in this YouTube video:


Last week I visited Pismo and Avila Beaches to check out this new hotspot for marine mammals, all likely attracted by an unusual abundance of fish and krill. I didn’t see any whales, but a viewing of several California coastal bottlenose dolphins frolicing in the water certainly provided a thrill. According to my friend Bill Keener, a marine mammal scientist and member of Golden Gate Cetacean Research, only about 500 of these animals inhabit the entire coast of California!

Dolphin leaping from the water at Avila Beach in California (photo by Beth Pratt)
And I have to recognize the pelicans of Pismo Beach Pier. I never thought I would describe a pelican as adorable, but I was captivated by these birds.

A friendly pelican posing for the camera at the Pismo Beach Pier (photo by Beth Pratt)
Pelican nap time (Photo by Beth Pratt)