Welcome Aboard "Dolphin Safari"

Orange County’s Legendary Whale Watching Catamaran

DolphinSafari is the boat that started it all! Our 35-foot sailing catamaran is the original pride of our fleet and remains a crew and passenger favorite. She was the first vessel in Southern California to offer year-round dolphin watching. And it was aboard this catamaran that Captain Dave filmed his award winning documentary, “Wild Dolphins & Whales of Southern California”.

With a comfortable capacity of about 20 passengers, DolphinSafari provides an intimate dolphin and whale watching experience. Her specially designed bow with Eye-Spy Dolphin Nets is so close to the water that you feel as though you can touch the animals! You’re also close enough to hear the dolphins vocalize as they swim right under your feet. It’s almost like being in a kayak! This boat has comfortable seating in the enclosed cockpit and a restroom.

Please note: DolphinSafari is not equipped with Eye-to-Eye Underwater Viewing Pods. That feature is only available on Manute’a.

DolphinSafari Reviews

Amazing! Best Ever!

I know whale watching is always about 90% luck–sometimes the whales just aren’t there, but this trip was the best. The weather was perfect, Captain Peter is enthusiastic and kind, and the whole trip was just wonderful. Dana Point is the place to go whale watching as there is a steep drop-off just off shore. We saw 5 or 6 blue whales (on 8/19/2012), a bunch of dolphins and a few Sun Fish. The boat was the smaller catamaran, the Dolphin Safari, which is the best boat because you are right on the water. You could look down and see animals swimming under the boat! The water was so clear, too. We saw baby dolphins swimming with the mothers! The boat takes just 20 people, so it is pretty small, but everyone gets the same view, and you never miss anything because it’s on he “other side of the boat.” The bow waves splash into the boat over the netting a little bit (which is great when the weather’s warm) and the quieter engines of the Dolphin Safari mean the animals aren’t spooked as much. I’ve done lots of whale watching is this is the best!

– ClassicCarTraveler
TripAdvisor logo WOW

I have done whale watching before. This is a whole new level. We are not talking 2 hours out to hopefully see something and then two hours back. We chose the smaller catamaran, which really lets you get up close. I know it’s not always like this, but these guys are really good. It went like this… 1) Board boat 2) As soon as you leave the harbor cue the sea lions 3) Sea Lions check…now cue the blue whales 4) Blue whales check…now cue the bottle nose Dolphins. Oh and throw in Patches. The most famous dolphin on the west coast. Oh and make sure to throw in some 20+ ft high jumps. 5) Bottle nose Dolphins and Patches check…now cue about 300 common dolphin complete with aerial displays. 6) Common Dolphins check. Let’s add one last humpback whale on the way into the harbor. 7) Throw in a few more sea lions for good measure 8) Thanks for coming. Please enjoy these amazing brownies. It was an unbelievable experience for the whole family.

– whetraveler73, TripAdvisor
TripAdvisor logo Amazing wildlife

Went out this morning for 2 1/2 hr cruise, small catamaran with just 15 tourists in total. Saw brown pelicans, sea lions , amazing dolphins that raced the boat, grey whales and fin whales- great captain Peter and his crew lady were great hosts- the brownie at the end topped off a fantastic trip - thoroughly recommend.

– Ozziebd, TripAdvisor
TripAdvisor logo My Absolute Favorite SCAL Activity!

This was at least our third trip with Capt. Dave's Dolphin & Whale Watching Safari. We love this company because of their catamaran boats and crews. Today we went out with Capt Peter and First Mate Mark who are veterans with incredible knowledge and fun natures. We went out on the smaller boat today which turned out to be fabulous because it was an even smaller tour group. This allowed us to engage with Capt Peter and First Mate Mark more directly. It was almost like being out on the water with family. Best part of this company is their commitment to finding whales and/or dolphins so the trip is exciting for everyone - adults and kids. While they watch the time, they are just as prone to follow a whale or pod of dolphins as make an "on time arrival" to the dock. No rushing, unless of course we're tracking a whale! I enthusiastically recommend that everyone take a safari!

– Carol D., TripAdvisor
TripAdvisor logo Awesome Cruise

This was an awesome whale and dolphin cruise. We saw hoards of dolphins on a beautiful day off the CA coast just north of Dana Point on a small catamaran. We were really lucky. there were at least a hundred dolphins swimming in front of us and right off the bow. The water was really clear and we got great pictures. Then we found one humpback whale but it entertained us for over a half hour of breaching and slapping the water with its fin. All I can say is WOW. Well worth the price. Getting to Dana Point dock area is actually half of the fun along the pacific coast highway. There were beautiful lookouts and viewpoints.

– James S., TripAdvisor

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