Meet the team at Captain Dave’s

Everyone on the Dolphin Safari team is very special to us and each person contributes to the sense of family we have and friendliness we love to share.

Captain Chuck

Chuck
Captain

Tell us something funny or interesting about yourself that no one would guess?

Grandfather is John V. Atanasoff, the father of the computer. He invented the first electronic digital computer in the 1930’s.

What do you love most about your job?

I love being out on the water with the animals.

Where are you from originally?

Boulder, Colorado

If you could be a cetacean, which animal would you be?

Spotted Dolphin

What is your best Dolphin Safari experience of all time?

When we had the 2 gray whales come right up and they would blow about 30-40 times right next to boat.

Captain Craig

Craig
Captain / Photographer

Tell us something funny or interesting about yourself that no one would guess?

My wife and I have done Christian Mission work on the Pacific Islands of Yap and Falalop.

What do you love most about your job?

I enjoy the people I work with.

Where are you from originally?

Grand Rapids, Michigan

If you could be a cetacean, which animal would you be?

Dolphin because they always have family around.

What is your best Dolphin Safari experience of all time?

Being out on the boat seeing the huge pod of sperm whales.

Captain Daniel

Daniel
Captain

Tell us something funny or interesting about yourself that no one would guess?

I’ve sailed around the world.

What do you love most about your job?

I love that I have the ability to help change lives by showing people the animals off the Californian coast.

Where are you from originally?

I’m originally from Southern California.

If you could be a cetacean, which animal would you be?

I would be a Risso’s Dolphin because they fight squid in the deep.

What is your best Dolphin Safari experience of all time?

I got to see a breaching fin whale during my first trip on the job!

Captain Marie

Marie
Captain

Tell us something funny or interesting about yourself that no one would guess?

I was a professional lady angler in Florida for two years in the 1980’s. I used to get severely seasick every weekend, and swore I would never go out another weekend on a boat, but I kept doing it and I outgrew it after two long years . I held I.G.F.A. record “International Game Fish Association ” 75lb Atlantic sailfish 8’3″. I never looked up to see if somebody broke my record. I also marinated and smoke the fish; was a bit gamy but it did not go to waste. From then on it was tag and release. I got and I.G.F.A. tag and release award for efforts of keeping the sailfish population and studying their migratory patterns. One of the sailfish I tagged in Fort Lauderdale was re-caught off the coast of Maine.

What do you love most about your job?

I love getting out on the ocean , I love working with all the great people that work at Capt. Dave’s and I love watching new people experiencing the wildlife.

Where are you from originally?

I am from Guilford, Connecticut.

If you could be a cetacean, which animal would you be?

I would be a bottlenose dolphin.

What is your best Dolphin Safari experience of all time?

I was training on Dolphin Safari one day and first and only time I was on that boat up on the bridge with Chuck and Dale and we had a blue whale right next to the bow. It was just under the water, turquoise blue, he was just massive and beautiful.

Captain Tom

Tom
Captain

Tell us something funny or interesting about yourself that no one would guess?

Was a Navy Brat and lived out on the East Coast for a couple years. While out there did a trip from Virginia to California on a converted school bus to sand blast a friends seaplane.

What do you love most about your job?

I love being out on the ocean and witnessing the animals out there. Just amazing to witness all that is out there.

Where are you from originally?

San Francisco, California

If you could be a cetacean, which animal would you be?

Orca

What is your best Dolphin Safari experience of all time?

Three years ago was out on [Capt. Dave’s boat] Dolphinsafari.com with the blue whales. Had a small group of only about 6 aboard and just parked the boat and the blue whales kept coming right up to the boat and fluking about 10 ft in front. It was calm and beautiful out, a perfect day.

Fleet Manager Steve

Steve
Fleet Manager

Tell us something funny or interesting about yourself that no one would guess?

I am an avid brewer of homemade hard cider. I make at least one large batch every year to share with friends and family through the following spring and summer.

What do you love most about your job?

I love to see people experiencing the marine wildlife for the first time. For some, it’s even their first time on a boat on the ocean. Sometimes they’re not prepared at all for the joy and awe that we can feel by being close to these amazing animals, and I get to be there for the reaction!

Where are you from originally?

I’m originally from Seattle. I was raised on the waters of the west coast from Southeast Alaska to the Sea of Cortez, but the magical islands of the Salish Sea will always be my true home.

If you could be a cetacean, which animal would you be?

I would want to be a Blue Whale. To me, they are the mystery, power and beauty of the sea represented in animal form.

What is your best Dolphin Safari experience of all time?

My most memorable experience with Dolphin Safari is the day we were approached by a pair of Gray Whales that were very interested in the boat and the guests aboard. We spent more than an hour with them while they came within inches of the boat and put their heads far out of the water to get a good look at all of us.

First Mate Allison

Allison
First Mate / Dolphin Deck

Tell us something funny or interesting about yourself that no one would guess?

For my Master of Science in Marine Biology, I researched population modelling and economics of whale-watching in the Philippines. I have worked with a variety of marine animals including tagging manatees, releasing baby sea turtles, caring for toxic coral, counting fish eggs, dissecting pilot whales, and recording humpback whale songs. On my free time, I volunteer at the Pacific Marine Mammal Center where I help rescue and rehabilitate seals and sea lions.

What do you love most about your job?

Observing the animals! Learning and laughing with a fun team is great as well.

Where are you from originally?

I was born in LA but mostly grew up here in Orange County.

If you could be a cetacean, which animal would you be?

Spinner dolphin. They spin like they’re dancing on water!

What is your best Dolphin Safari experience of all time?

My best moment with Dolphin Safari was when I had my first spot as crew. While in the head, I looked out the window and saw a blow so far away I thought it was a mirage. Once the vertical grey line disappeared and came back, I rushed to our captains Craig and Daniel, yelling “There’s a blow! 3 o’clock!” I startled a couple passengers, but we had 6 blue whales that day! The blues were rolling to their sides, throwing their pectoral fins high in the air, and surfacing one after the other! Then, common dolphin swam right up to our boat and the whales. I felt like a kid again – laughing from pure joy.

First Mate Cheryl

Cheryl
First Mate

Tell us something funny or interesting about yourself that no one would guess?

I’m also known as “Birdsong” of Birdsong and the Eco-Wonders and I’ve been writing kids’ songs about ocean animals since 2005. It’s my way of educating and inspiring future generations of ocean stewards. I sometimes surprise our Dolphin Safari passengers by breaking out into song.

What do you love most about your job?

The incredible people I work with, the beautiful marine animals we encounter on our boats, and the opportunity to share my passion for the ocean with our passengers.

Where are you from originally?

I grew up in Rhode Island, a state surrounded on three sides by ocean. It was there I first fell in love with the sea.

If you could be a cetacean, which animal would you be?

It’s hard to choose because they are each so fascinating in their own way. But I will say a dolphin for their playfulness, team work and mastery of sound and communication.

What is your best Dolphin Safari experience of all time?

Watching a blue whale dive and fluke into the sunset as a huge pod of common dolphins frolicked around us on our way back to the harbor.

Drone Pilot Grayden

Grayden
Drone Pilot / First Mate

Tell us something funny or interesting about yourself that no one would guess?

I am a very big fan of J.R.R. Tolkien. You may as well call me a Tolkien nerd.

What do you love most about your job?

I love that I get to actually pursue my dream of flying my drone commercially.

Where are you from originally?

Dana Point, California.

If you could be a cetacean, which animal would you be?

I would be a Humpback, I could travel around the mysterious ocean and sing songs about it.

What is your best Dolphin Safari experience of all time?

I encountered 1000 Common Dolphins and was able to get footage of it!

Mark

Mark
First Mate / Photographer

Tell us something funny or interesting about yourself that no one would guess?

I like to write poetry.

What do you love most about your job?

I love being out on the ocean and with the animals.

Where are you from originally?

Born in Michigan, raised in Wisconsin.

If you could be a cetacean, which animal would you be?

Humpback whale because they are gregarious and animated.

What is your best Dolphin Safari experience of all time?

First time seeing a blue whale is top and then seeing the huge pod of sperm whales.  Have so many, hard to pick one.

Daryn

Daryn
Dolphin Deck

Tell us something funny or interesting about yourself that no one would guess?

After I graduated from college, I spent a few months in South Africa working on a shark cage diving boat and a whale watching boat.

What do you love most about your job?

I love who I work with and getting to go out on the boats all the time.

Where are you from originally

Yorba Linda, California

If you could be a cetacean, which animal would you be?

I would probably be a humpback whale. They’re a little more playful than the other whales I’ve observed and that fits with my personality pretty well!

What is your best Dolphin Safari experience of all time?

About halfway through the summer, I was out on a trip after my shift on the Dolphin Deck and we saw a playful whale throwing peduncles. I’ve seen breaching and pectoral slaps but never peduncles!

Dolphin Deck Manager Kim

Kim
Dolphin Deck Manager

Tell us something funny or interesting about yourself that no one would guess?

I helped start & build my brother’s family roofing business. I worked there for 20 years. My mom & I actually roofed a house together. The company is still going strong.

What do you love most about your job?

Besides the awesome people I work with, I love all the different people I get to meet every day & see the smiles on their faces, especially when they come back and say what an amazing experience they had.

Where are you from originally?

Born in Orlando, FL., but raised in Westminster, CA.

If you could be a cetacean, which animal would you be?

I would be a Dolphin, they are so smart & always seen like they are having fun.

What is your best Dolphin Safari experience of all time?

Getting to bring my son on a trip to show him what an amazing company I’m a part of.

Tracie

Tracie
Dolphin Deck

Tell us something funny or interesting about yourself that no one would guess?

I’m a descendant of a shogun on my mom’s side and a Scottish lord on my dad’s side.

What do you love most about your job?

Getting to see all the marine wildlife!

Where are you from originally

Born in Laguna Beach and visiting the Dana Point harbor since I was a month old.

If you could be a cetacean, which animal would you be?

An orca- they are the top of the food chain and have tight social bonds.

What is your best Dolphin Safari experience of all time?

Being surrounded by 5 humpback whales. Some of them came right up next to the boat! Seeing up close how huge and powerful they are took my breath away.

Private Charter Manager Shannon

Shannon
Private Charter Manager

What do you love most about your job?

I moved to Orange County 18 years ago and have been working for Capt. Dave’s for almost 9 years, after applying to an ad in the Pennysaver. I feel blessed to work for an amazing company whose passion is to help these wonderful creatures and share them with the world in their their natural habitat. I love to hear from our passengers on how we have helped them have the most amazing experience of their life and  to be a part of their joy brings a smile to my face every day.

Where are you from originally?

Born in California, raised in the San Fernando Valley and was a complete “Valley Girl”, like totally.

If you could be a cetacean, which animal would you be?

If I could be any cetacean of my choice, that’s what I would be… a dolphin!

What is your best Dolphin Safari experience of all time?

My best Dolphin Experience was when I was in the POD on Manute’a for the first time with my two girls, we were completely surrounded by Bottlenose Dolphins and could look them in the eyes. It absolutely brought tears to my eyes I was so excited and amazed and it is an experience I will never forget!

Gold Glitter Dolphin

Jacque
Reservations Manager

Tell us something funny or interesting about yourself that no one would guess?

I love to play Super Mario Bros. video games.

What do you love most about your job?

The level of customer service we offer our customers.  The unique absolutely unforgettable experience we offer.

Where are you from originally?

The South

If you could be a cetacean, which animal would you be?

Blue Whale

What is your best Dolphin Safari experience of all time?

Watching my children help at the kids around the world packing event and listening to them speak about how they wanted to do more. It is such an amazing organization and my children left that event with an appreciation that they would have never had without Dave and Gisele sponsoring that event and getting their employees involved.

Gold Glitter Dolphin

Jill
Reservations

Tell us something funny or interesting about yourself that no one would guess?

I was a translator in the Navy for 6 years.

What do you love most about your job?

I love hearing how excited people get when they book trips with us.

Where are you from originally?

Southern California

If you could be a cetacean, which animal would you be?

A dolphin – they always seem so carefree!

What is your best Dolphin Safari experience of all time?

Taking my kids out on Manute’a, and seeing how delighted and excited they were to watch all the dolphins swimming right next to the bow.

Reservationist Rebekah

Rebekah
Reservations

Tell us something funny or interesting about yourself that no one would guess?

I don’t eat anything that once had eyeballs.

What do you love most about your job?

I love talking with people about something that will bring them so much joy and happiness!

Where are you from originally?

Washington State

If you could be a cetacean, which animal would you be?

A dolphin or a humpback whale. I love how energetic, fun, and friendly they are!

What is your best Dolphin Safari experience of all time?

I was aboard a Dolphin Safari one summer during blue whale season. One blue came right in front of the vessel, head on, tipped it’s chin up right before diving down underneath the bow of the boat. I thought we were going to be made into an afternoon snack, which would have been incredible! I think I caught a glimpse of what Jonah in the bible felt like. It was unforgettable, and so SO cool! (P.S. Don’t worry, blue whales eat itty-bitty krill, not people!).

Dolphin Safari Mascot Annabelle

Denielle & Annabelle
Media Manager | Dolphin Safari Mascot

Tell us something funny or interesting about yourself that no one would guess?

D: I ran the charter department for a yacht brokerage and charter company in the harbor for 11 years.  Never had any clue we had so many blue whales off Dana Point until I started working here!
A: During the day I am a ferocious guard dog, notifying my human of any one outside the door. At night I curl up with my pink squeaky toy, like it’s my teddy bear.

What do you love most about your job?

D: Meeting passengers on the boat, some of whom have become good friends of mine, and photographing the amazing wildlife.
A: I love going on the boat and saying hello to everyone. They give me treats and belly rubs and it’s so much fun!

Where are you from originally?

D: Connecticut
A: It’s a mystery. I’m a rescue dog!

If you could be a cetacean, which animal would you be?

D: Humpback whale
A: What’s a cetacean? Are they like bunnies? Because I LOVE me some bunnies.

What is your best Dolphin Safari experience of all time?

D: Being “eye to eye” with Farley the fin whale in the Underwater Pod. Getting mugged by Buddy the blue whale was awesome too.
A: It’s a tie between the day Mrs. Capt. Dave found me on the side of the road, and the day she brought me to the Dolphin Deck, where I met the person who would give me a fur-ever home.