Zodiac Whale Watching: A high speed, smile-plastered-to-your-face, exhilarating thrill ride

Captain Dave’s fast and fun zodiac whale watching and dolphin watching catamaran, Fast Cat, is available for open tours (where you join other guests) and private charters. Fast Cat is Orange County’s only Coast Guard inspected rigid hull inflatable boat (RHIB).

This small-group tour of up to 12 passengers will give you an intimate 90-minute look at Southern California’s year-round whales and dolphins. With speeds up to 30 knots, you’ll spend less time looking for animals and more time enjoying them! Captain Dave’s zodiac whale watching safaris will have you incredibly close to the ocean’s surface and within arm’s reach of wildlife.

Your zodiac whale watching adventure departs from Dana Point, California, conveniently located midway between Los Angeles and San Diego, and just south of Newport Beach.

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Open Trip Prices and Availability
90 minutes (our standard adventure time): $65 per person, all ages*
120 minutes: $95 per person, all ages*
*Minimum age restrictions apply. Please see safety and comfort information below.

Availability for Open Safari
Zodiac whale watching safaris are available for public group tours every day, pending Captain availability, and with a 4-person trip minimum. Please call us at 949-488-2828 to inquire.

Private Charters
Private zodiac whale watching charters are available for groups of up to 12.
To learn more, visit our private charters page, or give us a call at 949-488-2828

Detailed Features of Captain Dave's Zodiac Whale Watching Boat

Zodiac Whale Watching Vessel Features

  • No more than 12 passengers.
  • Wide, rectangular bow can get you with arm’s reach of wildlife.
  • Heavily padded seats with seat backs.
  • Custom teak floor.
  • Large custom sunshade.
  • 240-HP inboard diesel engine provides quiet and reliable speeds up to 30 knots.
  • Custom teak floor.
Important Zodiac Whale Watching Safety and Comfort Information

Zodiac Whale Watching Reviews

My family recently took the “Fast Cat” tour, and it was a wonderful experience. While it was a little intense for my wife, whose sensitive back was a little jarred by sitting near the front of the boat, my 11-year-old loved being up front, and my rather skiddish 9-year-old was totally comfortable in the back. In fact, she loved the thrill of the speed and bumpy waves, and this is a kid who generally hates roller coasters and the like. I personally really enjoyed it; the speed was great, as we got out to sea really efficiently and got to see some amazing sights.

Captain Dave himself is super chill, knowledgeable, and above all clearly cares about showing his clients a good time. It’s really obvious that he enjoys his job, and that helps to set a good tone for the group. That’s important, because the Fast Cat is rather intimate, you sit right next to each other in a pretty small group.

As for the animals themselves, we got to see a huge blue whale, which was magnificent. One can’t really effectively describe how cool it is to be a few feet away from the largest animal in history! We also saw a pod of dolphins, including an adorable baby dolphin, and they swam right next to the boat. My 9-year-old was so excited to be able to lay belly-down at the front of the boat and be right beside them! We also saw numerous sea lions, which were terribly cute, as well as many gulls, ducks and other sea birds.

We’re certainly going to return, and perhaps try one of the other boat options. I highly recommend this experience for families.John S.

Hubby and I went whale watching this morning and saw some beautiful gray whales and lots of Dolphins. i highly recommend booking the Fast Cat tour. Smaller vessel and you get great views of sea life. we will definitely book this again.O C.
OMG!!! DO THIS!!!!
Hubby and I took the Fast Cat…the Zodiac boat…to see the whales. Even if we hadn’t seen a whale, it was exciting to fly across the water. Captain Marie and her 1st mate were wonderful. The boat holds 12 but there were only 8 of us on the early morning ride. Space for moving around and meeting each other before we saw the whales. We found a great gray whale that became curious of our “little” boat and swam as close as 40 feet from us. Plenty of dolphins and seal lions, too. A GREAT 90 minutes of watertime. Robin S
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