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.