We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.


Capt. Dave's Dolphin & Whale Watching Safari
Book In Advance
More Info
and up
Dana Point Whale Watching and Dolphin Watching Eco-Safari
Ranked #1 of 20 Tours in Dana Point
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Whale watch with Capt. Dave's Dolphin and Whale Watching Safari in Dana Point on our high-tech sailing catamaran year round, with two Eye-to-Eye Underwater Viewing Pods. For 20 years Captain Dave's has provided daily trips to see dolphins, up to 10,000 strong, leap and play right off our bow, plus Gray Whales (December through April), Blue Whales (May through November), and year round Humpback Whales, Fin Whales, Minke Whales, and so much more. Go underwater with whales and dolphins without getting wet during your whale watch in our Eye-to-Eye Underwater Viewing Pods aboard Manute'a. Listen to dolphins during your whale watching safari with our underwater Hydrophone. Celebrity and certified naturalists make this exciting Dana Point whale watching excursion educational and entertaining too. Mrs. Capt. Dave's famous triple-fudge brownies make this a one-of-a-kind dolphin and whale watching adventure unforgettable. We are a real Eco-tourism company providing only sustainable wildlife viewing. Ask about Fast Cat, our upscale Rigid Hull Inflatable Catamaran and the newest boat in our whale watching fleet.
Useful Information: Activities for older children, Activities for young children
Reviewed August 1, 2008

We went out July 27 and it was amazing!

I had extremely low expectations, i have been out on other "Whale Watching" trips before with other companies and always saw basically the same thing - nothing much. The usual 5 dolphins bow surfing and the two sea lions floating on the buoy. Basically we went to get out on the ocean for a few hours.

But did Captain Tom blow us away. We went the last trip of the say which was scheduled at 3pm. They waisted no time and said we would be heading straight out to where they had spent time with a blue whale on the last trip just before they came back in. When we got to that area we watched at least 3 seperate blue whales (one may have been a calf) surface and dive over and over it was breathtaking. He guided the boat slowly in giving the whales room and simply letting the boat sit still and watch where they came up. Capt. Tom kept time of the them on a stopwatch so he would know when to head to where another should be coming up. Amazing. We watched them for hours it was breathtaking and beautiful. One of the whales actually turned around and swam right under our boat straight at us to check us out. Another simply floated along the surface content not to dive deap as the others allowing us to see the awesome size of the largest mammal on the planet.

Then with only thirty minutes left he asked if we would like to go see some dolphins or stay with the whales. We decided to "go ahead and see the dolphins" .

This too was simply breathtaking we soon found ourselves surrounded in a super-super-pod of dolphins hundreads i kid you not hundreads of dolphins as you looked 360 degrees around the boat all you could see were dolphins splashing in the distance and the foreground as far as the eye could see. Captain Tom asked us if we would mind if we extended our trip and stayed out awhile longer to take it all in. We all heartily agreed to stay out and enjoy the beauty that was surrounding us. I have never seen anything like it, not even on a tv special or national geographic documentary. At one point the nursery part of the group swam past us and we saw countless little baby dolphins of various size and age. Sooo amazing!

My husband said it changed his life to see such a community in action as this huge group of dolphins were.

As the sun was by that point setting (it now being sometime after 6pm) Captain Tom told us reluctantly that we had to start back in, but decided to take us out to see some Risso's dolphin first. We saw many of those briefly before heading again back toward dana point. It made us sad that we couldn't stay and enjoy them more. (He told us it was extremly rare for risso's to present to a boat, they are very shy, but on the last trip before us one had startled them by approaching and bow surfing under the net for 30 minutes!) Also Captain Tom appologized that he couldn't take us over to see the pinnapeds as there just wasn't enough time left.

As we came back in we saw another blue whale off in the distance, beautiful but we couldn't stop to watch it.

And two sunfish which were very large and very startled by our boat.

Just and amazing experience. Also the brownies they gave us were quite delicious but i don't think they would really be considered world famous as i am pretty sure i recognize the recipe.

Was our experience something everyone would get on this trip? Probibly not. But was it the best ever? Without question.
They know there stuff!

Captain Tom knew right where to go and how and where to find animals. They also showed genuine care and respect for the animals. And annoyance at other boats that were not behaving in the best interest of the marine mammals.

I think you could reasonably expect to see dolphins and pinnapeds each time out. And a nice view of the shoreline depending on weather. And if you are lucky like us you might get to see many other wonderful creatures. There are only three marine mammals on there charts that captain tom hasn't seen out there and two of them were pinnapeds (seals & sea lions etc.) so there is a great chance you will see some wonderful things.

I recommend a later trip time if weather will not cause ruff seas. This allowed us to stay out longer and our skipper to use what and where he had previously seen animals to guide us to them.

2  Thank scratgal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review
Reviews (798)
There are newer reviews for Capt. Dave's Dolphin & Whale Watching Safari
See the most recent reviews
Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year

776 - 780 of 798 reviews

Reviewed July 9, 2008

I guess I can see the point of view from other reviewers that the thrill of this experience would be predicated on seeing sea animals. We happed to see dolphin and when I say saw dolphin we saw three different pods of dolphins. One group had to be over a thousand of them and it was unbelievable. We were a little dissapointed in the fact that they had seen blue whales the last few days/trips before us and we did not but that was OK. Seeing all these dolphins was sooooo cooooool.

This is a really nice trip and tour for the money and does seem to be a good group of owners/operators who do try to offer a good experience to their guests.

Thank G8RED
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 23, 2008

Wow I read a negative review on Capt Dave's Safari and just couldn't believe it! All the wrong circumstances came together to cause one customer to go OFF. So I just had to take a moment to tell about how I was treated.

I got up one fine Sunday and decided to help out a friend. She was badly depressed due to an unexpected death in her life. I knew that Dolphins would help. I called about the trip for that day and was told there was space. I was in Los Angeles and they were 90 minutes away...I was going to have to fly to get there on time.

I grabbed my friend and we were already 5 minutes late when we arrived at Dana Point. I called and told them where I was. They held the boat and sent one of the crew out to the parking lot to show us the way to the boat. They took my credit card info over the phone and put us on that Safari. Thank goodness there were no complainers in our group because they were delayed taking off.

My friend just came alive on that trip. She was all over that boat with her camera. She was glowing by the time we came back. The captain gave us an extra 30 minutes on our trip since we were late taking off!

We didn't see whales but WOW we saw a sunfish! It was absolutely amazing. Look it up. It was about 5 feet in diameter and solid white. It floated at the surface the whole time we watched and they gave us lots of time.

This trip is a true gem even if you don't see a single animal. 3+ hours on the beautiful pacific on a beautiful boat with people who love animals. What's to complain about?

3  Thank syncthis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 21, 2008

We took Captain Dave's dolphin safari this past weekend, April 19th. What a great experience!
Though we saw no grey whales, we did come across a large pod of bottlenose dophins and spent a good deal of time with them.
One of the best things about Dolphin Safari is that you are in a catamaran, thus much closer to the water. The net/trampoline in front give you a perfect opportunity to get 'up close and personal' with the dolphins.
The underwater microphone, broadcasting the dolphin sounds, is a bonus.
And by the way, if you are in the front of the boat, you will get wet. Expect it and enjoy it! (there are plenty of dry seats in the cabin or in the back)
Captain Dave is an interesting and experienced guide. We were thrilled with our trip.
As an aside, we have taken many whale watching excursions out of San Diego...this one was much better.

Thank NativeSoCal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 26, 2008

Thunderous applause for a terrific trip and a very knowledgeable crew! It was clear from the start that if any sea life were to surface, Captain Dave's group would find it. We saw 3 gray whales and were in a megapod of 5,000 dolphin. My daughters were squealing with delight.

The Captain carefully helped those with physical needs while also allowing our crazy little girls to get totally soaked on the net and have a blast! (The rest of us stayed bone dry.) The Captain positioned my 80-year-old dad (who has a severe limp and isn’t able to walk on deck safely anymore) so that he could see everything and feel safe.

We can’t wait to go out with Captain Dave's Dolphin Safari again to see blue whales in the summer -- and we're bringing loads of friends. This is something we will do as often as we can. And, hey, who doesn't want to be handed a scrumptious chocolate brownie at the end of a fabulous sea adventure? Yum!

3  Thank SusanPasadena_CA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Capt. Dave's Dolphin & Whale Watching Safari also viewed

Dana Point, Orange County

Been to Capt. Dave's Dolphin & Whale Watching Safari? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing