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Dolphin and Whale Watching Safari

Experience Our World-Famous Underwater Viewing Pods

Quick Details

  • Duration: 2 ½ hours
  • Underwater Viewing Pods
  • Never Crowded
  • Tours Run 7 Days a Week
  • Year-round whales, dolphins, sea lions, sharks, birds and more!

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

Capt. Dave’s Dana Point Whale Watching

Of all whale watching tours in Dana Point, CA, CBS Los Angeles has called us the best!

Manute’a (pronounced mah-noo-tay-ah) is the primary vessel used for our daily whale watching trips. This high-tech, high-speed catamaran sailboat offers the world’s most unique dolphin and whale watching experience.

Passenger watching dolphins from underwater viewing pod on Manute'a

Manute’a features Capt. Dave’s exclusive Eye-to Eye Underwater Viewing Pods. The two “pods” give you the extraordinary experience of feeling what it’s like to swim with dolphins and whales, underwater, without getting wet! This vessel also features three Eye-Spy Dolphin Tram Nets on the bow for an up-close and immersive whale watching adventure, a micro dolphin and whale museum, and live narration from expert marine naturalists for a whale watching experience 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.

And Mrs. Capt. Dave’s legendary, delicious Triple Fudge Brownies are served complimentary!

Worth every penny!

TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence Hall of Fame awardWe called with short notice inquiring about a private tour. Everyone we spoke with was extremely accommodating and they made it happen in less than 24 hours. The crew on Dolphin Safari was great – the trip was educational, exciting and memorable! We understood there were no guarantees for sightings of any kind, but were pleasantly surprised to experience a large humpback whale. A very large tour boat with a bunch of people on board rolled in to see the whale and then rolled back out after just a couple of minutes. Perhaps because we were on a smaller boat, the whale hung around us for a while and we got to see the whale surface multiple times, roll and expose its flippers, and at one point it seemed curious enough that it swam right under the boat. Our crew was respectful of the whale, while at the same time providing us ample opportunity to experience its behavior. I can’t emphasize enough that the private tour on a smaller boat was worth every penny. If you can’t afford that route, I would still recommend this company as every aspect of their service – and respect for the animals – was top notch. I give them my highest recommendation. – 5 star TripAdvisor review from katestake

What We’re Seeing

Winter is a great time for dolphin and whale watching! Dana Point is blessed to have moderate weather all year long, and this includes mild winter weather and ocean conditions.

Great Grays: As the holidays approach, so does the gray whale migration. During the winter and spring months, the animal that started the whale watching industry in Dana Point can be seen migrating along the coast. And Dana Point is one of the best places to view thousands of gray whales on their annual journey. Gray whales are often seen within a mile or two outside of Dana Point Harbor, and are believed to use Dana Point’s headlands as a landmark on their migration. Though gray whale season doesn’t unofficially kick off until late November, we’ve already seen Dana Point’s first gray whale of the season on October 31! Don’t be surprised if we see more early-bird gray whales making their way south to Baja California, Mexico.

Gray Whale illustration

Gray Whale

And speaking of holidays, a whale watching gift card from Capt. Dave’s makes a wonderful and memorable gift for family and friends.

This time of year we also see playful humpback whales, large and sleek fin whales, and curious minke whales, too.

Fin Whale illustration

Fin Whale

We’ve had more orca (killer whale) encounters in recent months than ever before. Those apex predators can appear at any time during the year and without warning!

Orca (killer whale) illustration


You might even have a rare encounter with pilot whales, false killer whales, or sperm whales.

Hold on to your hats because we’re not done yet! Several species of wild dolphins are seen throughout the year, some in pods that can number up to 10,000. Imagine: nothing but dolphins in every direction as far as the eye can see! And it’s during these cooler months that we see one of our favorite dolphins, the beautiful 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.

Cetacean Declaration – Sightings Guarantee

Sightings Guarantee Capt Dave'sYou might be wondering, “what if I don’t see anything”? After all, wildlife is just that: wild. And though we locate whales or dolphins on over 95% of our trips, there are rare occasions when we don’t see any marine mammals. And in that unlikely event – zero whales or dolphins – you can return for FREE within one year from the date of the trip.

Join us for the adventure of a lifetime! Book your Dana Point dolphin and whale watching tour now!