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Whale Watching Hawaii Vacation

Sun sets behind Dana Point headland and ocean (© Mirecca | Dreamstime)
Considering A Whale Watching Vacation To Hawaii?

Keep in mind that Dana Point, in sunny Southern California, offers more dolphins and whales!

Whale Watching Hawaii – What to Consider

Hoping to get your aloha on while glamming up a fresh flower lei as you take a peek at a pod of dolphins? Maybe you’ve always wanted to see a whale, and your natural instinct is to hop on over to the Hawaiian islands?

We don’t blame you! But feel free to say adios to the overpriced airfare, crowds, and jet lag because one of the largest varieties of marine wildlife in the world calls our very own backyard, home. In fact, Dana Point, California is home to one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world which is one of the many reasons it’s earned the title of being the Dolphin and Whale Watching Capital of the World®! With year-round dolphin and whale sightings, it’s no wonder why one would choose a SoCal staycation when seeking the opportunity to catch a glimpse of our planets most favorite cetaceans.

Now don’t get us wrong. Hawaii’s idyllic weather, scenery, and hang loose adventures give even the most scroogetastic homebody the itch to travel, but with breathtaking coastlines, golden Cali weather, and mainland amenities, Dana Point whale watching is just about impossible to beat.

More Whales, More Dolphins, More Variety

Hawaii does play host to one of the largest North Pacific humpback whale populations, and you may see several dolphins from the shoreline, but did you know that Dana Point whale watchers often see hundreds, sometimes even thousands of dolphins anytime during a getaway on the ocean?

Dolphins off the coast of Southern California comprise some of the largest dolphin herds in the world, including mega-pods of up to 10,000 strong! We have more wild dolphins in our area than in Hawaii, Alaska, and Florida combined, and more dolphins per square mile than anywhere else in the world. That’s a lot of dolphins!

Not only do we spot five different species of dolphins, including long and short-beaked common dolphins, pacific white-sided dolphins, bottlenose dolphins, and Risso’s dolphins, but with Dana Point being the World’s Whale Watching Capital®, we also see over ten different species of whales. Yep, ten! From humpback whales, blue whales, gray whales, and Bryde’s whales to minke whales, fin whales, and sperm whales, plus a few members of the dolphin family with “whale” in their common name such as killer whales and pilot whales, and many more – our waters are filled with extraordinary creatures that have us sporting up our ooh’s and aah’s with our mouths wide open like the whales that feed off of SoCal’s coast.

Unlike Hawaii, Dana Point Has Year-Round Humpback Whales

Although Hawaiian locals and guests sing their beautiful aloha’s to an estimated ⅔ of the North Pacific humpback whale population, which visit the islands shallow waters to breed, give birth and nurse their calves, these visitors are just that… visitors. Stopping through between the months of December to May – you may get lucky enough to catch a glimpse of their knobbly noggins and big winged selves, but what if you had the opportunity to see these gorgeous and gigantic fellas any time throughout the year, and much closer to home?

Humpback whales are a year-round visitor during our Dana Point whale watching trips, and in January 2019, we were blessed with more ‘hum-pal’ encounters than ever before during that month. With a whopping 59 magnificent meet and greets!

Humpback whales, along with several other species including minke, fin, and killer whales, can be seen anytime throughout the year. And not just seen from a large, overcrowded, and distant whale watching vessel, or from a sun deck chair on land while peering through a pair of binoculars, but aboard a high-tech, high-speed, and high-end comfortable vessel that enables you to see these creatures up close and personal, and even eye to eye.

Captain Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Watching Safari based in Dana Point, California, provide daily year-round whale and dolphin watching experiences that enable passengers on board to experience extraordinary encounters with over seventy different species of wildlife creatures.

With several vessels to choose from, all equipped with ample cushioned seating for all passengers on-board, and each providing a unique and up-close view of the wildlife, your time sailing across the deep blue could be nothing less than spectacular.

Swimming With Dolphins

We get it though, Sarah’s eighth birthday is coming up, and she’s always wanted to swim with dolphins. And you’re right, Hawaii does offer the opportunity to swim with dolphins. But did you know that we do, too? And without getting wet or disturbing the natural behavior of the animals?

Manute’a, our primary vessel used for our daily whale watching trips, is a high-tech and one of a kind sailing catamaran, which offers the world’s most unique and intimate whale watching experience. Manute’a is famously known for its exclusive, one of a kind, Eye-to-Eye Underwater Viewing Pods. The two ‘pods’, designed by Captain Dave himself, give you the incredible experience of feeling what it’s like to swim with dolphins and whales, underwater, without getting wet! Each pod, located towards the front of the boat where the hulls of a catamaran are situated, hold up to two adults, or three child passengers at a time. The time spent within these deep-sea nooks, not only give you an unforgettable and up-close encounter with the life beneath surface, but your ears will be beaming with sounds of their clicks, whistles, and chatter. There is truly nothing like it!

Passenger watching dolphins from underwater viewing pod on Manute'a

More About Capt. Dave’s Whale Watching

Better yet, Manute’a is also equipped with eye-spy dolphin and whale tram nets which give you an amazing view of the animals right underneath your feet. Passengers onboard often make for their best superman self and sprawl out – belly down as they reach to try and receive a high five from the wildlife beneath these nets. And if that’s not giving you the seafaring feelies, your inner marine wildlife advocate will be glowing with pride as you enjoy the presence of nature’s most exuberant and special specimens without causing harm to them or their environment. Two fins up for that hippy jazz!

With a 95% success rating of seeing wildlife aboard your Captain Dave’s cruise, the chances of seeing your favorite sea pal are higher than the price of milk you’ll find in the dairy aisle in Hawaii’s groceries stores.

And speaking of milk, feel free to bring your own cup of cream on-board with you, which will make for a great companion to your complimentary famous fudge brownie, from Mrs. Captain Dave herself! Served up to each and every passenger aboard our excursions, these tasty treats will have your tastebuds tangoing, and your hips doing the hula, regardless of how far away you are from the Big Island.

We won’t deny the simple truth that Hawaii can be a dreamlike vacation for any ocean loving compadre. But we also won’t deny the simple yet salient truth of Dana Point, California is far more than a dreamlike vacation spot for dolphin and whale watching. Captain Dave’s makes those cetacean sightings become a reality, and with dolphins galore, and whales aplenty – not only will your vacation hungry, and deep sea fan club be thanking you for choosing a holiday in the whale watching capital of the world, but your wallet may thank you as well!

Panoramic View of Dana Point Harbor (© Alexander Reitter | Dreamstime)

Gift an unforgettable dolphin and whale watching experience! With year-round whales, dolphins, sea lions, sharks, and more, any time is a great time for your recipient to enjoy their gift.

“Our experiences are a bigger part of ourselves than our material goods…” – Dr. Thomas Gilovich