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Dolphin and Whale Watching Tour

Experience Our World-Famous Underwater Viewing Pods

Quick Details

Calendar Dates: Tours run 7 days a week

Checkmark Underwater Viewing Pods

Info Additional information:

  • Never crowded
  • Year-round whales, dolphins, sea lions, sharks, birds, and more!
  • We are an official Dana Point whale watching company.
  • Entry into the Underwater Viewing Pods requires the use of ladder-like steps. Persons with a disability or limited mobility may have difficulty.

Departure times vary. Please select a date to view times.

Adult (13 & up)
Child (1-12)
Infants (up to 12 months)

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“…this tour offers the best whale watching in the world…”

Capt. Dave’s Dana Point Whale Watching Tour

Manute’a (pronounced mah-noo-tay-ah) is our high-tech, high-speed catamaran sailboat offering the world’s most unique dolphin and whale watching experience in Orange County.

Passenger watching dolphins from underwater viewing pod on Manute'a

Passenger watching common dolphins from an underwater viewing pod on Manute’a

Manute’a features Capt. Dave’s exclusive Eye-to-Eye Underwater Viewing Pods. These amazing viewing pods give you the extraordinary experience of feeling what it’s like to swim with dolphins and whales—underwater—without getting wet, making it an unforgettable whale watching tour you’ll talk about for days to come!

This vessel also features three Eye-Spy Dolphin Tram Nets on the bow for an up-close and immersive Dana Point whale watching adventure, a micro dolphin and whale museum, and live narration from expert marine naturalists for a whale watching experience in Orange County that is both fun and educational. Never crowded, Manute’a carries up to 49 happy passengers with plenty of elbow room and comfortable seating for all. Manute’a is the primary vessel used for our daily Dana Point whale watching trips in Orange County.

At the end of the tour, Mrs. Capt. Dave’s legendary, delicious Triple Fudge Brownies are served complimentary!

What Do Our Guests Say about Whale Watching in Orange County?

I’ve been to Disneyland, Sea World, Universal Studios—all for much more money. I ALWAYS GET MORE THAN MY MONEY’S WORTH. I’ve brought friends, family members, colleagues from work, Rotarians, etc. Each time I knew everyone would enjoy themselves—and they have. I’ve seen my stoic girlfriend break out in giggles the first time she saw a dolphin. I’ve seen my 30+-year-old son who is “too cool” to be impressed with anything anymore, grab my hand and point to several blue whales with great excitement.

I could write volumes about my experiences on Capt. Dave’s Dolphin Safari. The adjectives I would use are: GREAT, WONDERFUL, SPIRITUAL, INVITING, INFORMATIVE, PEACEFUL, ADVENTUROUS, FUN, FRIENDLY, and who can forget the great brownies at the end of the trip? – 5 star TripAdvisor review from Basia C.

TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence and Hall of Fame 2019


Wildlife We’re Seeing

Winter is a ‘fintastic’ time for dolphin and whale watching tours in Dana Point! Dana Point is the World’s Dolphin and Whale Watching Capital® and we are blessed to have moderate weather all year long for our whale watching Orange County tours.

Gray whales, the animal that started the whale watching phenomenon in Dana Point, can be seen migrating along our coast now through May. Thousands of gray whales are making the journey past Southern California and locals know Dana Point to be one of the best places to view the migration. Gray whales often travel close to shore and are believed to use Dana Point’s headlands as a landmark on their route.

Gray Whale illustration

Gray Whale

Throughout the year you have the chance of viewing playful humpback whales, large and friendly fin whales, and curious minke whales, too.

Humpback Whale Illustration

Humpback Whale

You also have the possibility of seeing orcas (killer whales) throughout the year while on a whale watching tour in Dana Point. They can appear at any time, without warning, so have your camera ready! Or you might have a rare encounter with pilot whales, false killer whales, or even sperm whales. Other special sightings include basking sharks, the second-largest shark in the world, and huge elephant seals.

Killer Whale illustration

Orca (Killer Whale)

Hold on to your safari hats because we’re not done yet! Several species of wild dolphins are seen throughout the year while whale watching in Orange County —some in pods that can number up to 10,000. Imagine nothing but dolphins in every direction as far as the eye can see! It’s during these cooler months that we see one of our favorite dolphins, the beautiful black and white pacific white-sided dolphin. They prefer cooler water temps, so now is the best time of year to view them! And that’s not all. Over 50 species of pelagic birds, sea lions, seals, and sharks, including the great white, mako, hammerhead, thresher, and more could be encountered.


Bottlenose Dolphin rendering


Cetacean Declaration – Sightings Guarantee

Sightings Guarantee Capt Dave'sYou might be wondering, “What if I don’t see anything?” Although we locate whales or dolphins on over 95% of our trips, there are rare occasions when we don’t see any marine mammals while whale watching in Dana Point. And in that unlikely event—zero whales or dolphins—you can return for FREE for another whale watching tour within one year from the date of the trip.

Join us for the adventure of a lifetime! Book your dolphin and whale watching Dana Point tour now by clicking on the orange button.

Compare our Signature Safari and Zodiac Safari


Signature Safari (Manute’a) Zodiac Safari (Fast Cat)
Max Guests: 49 12
Speed: Fast Our fastest boat, up to 30 kts.
Experience/Features: Stable, relaxed, underwater viewing pods, eye-spy tram nets. High speed, bumpy & bouncy (in a fun way), GoPro friendly, very close to water.
Sightings: Excellent opportunity to see whales & dolphins. Excellent opportunity to see whales & dolphins.
Age: All ages welcome. Age 8 and older.
Health/Mobility:  No health restrictions. Persons with a disability or limited mobility might not be able to enter underwater viewing pods. There are health restrictions for certain injuries and conditions. Learn more.
Restrooms Yes No

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