Dean Gomersall, left, and Wendy Leeds, both from Pacific Marine Mammal Center, try to guide the dolphins toward deep water, away from the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve in Huntington Beach on Friday.

Dean Gomersall, left, and Wendy Leeds, both from Pacific Marine Mammal Center, try to guide the dolphins toward deep water, away from the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve in Huntington Beach on Friday. (Irfan Khan | Los Angeles Times / March 1, 2013)

The two dolphins that found their way into the Bolsa Chica Wetlands on Friday had plenty of water and the option to leave any time, according to Pacific Marine Mammal Center spokeswoman Melissa Sciacca.

"They were sort of choosing to be in that wetlands area," she said.

The dolphins returned to the ocean around 2 p.m. Friday after spending the day in the wetlands near Warner Avenue and Pacific Coast Highway.

The Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach received a call at 7:30 a.m. about the dolphins.

Sciacca said a team from the mammal center observed the dolphins at first but since the water was semi-shallow they ultimately intervened very gently.

She said they splashed in the water to make them leave. They used simple techniques to encourage the dolphins to head back to the ocean.

"This has happened before," she said. "Dolphins will sometimes travel down that channel for a food source. We suspect they were there tracking fish."

--Anthony Clark Carpio