For details on planning your own whale watching tour with Dana Wharf Whale Watching, scroll down.
We stood on the deck of the boat, peering into the Pacific Ocean, cameras at the ready. The captain announced a gray whale was spotted at 1:00 and everyone moved to the starboard side of the boat trying to catch a glimpse. This whale wasn’t a show-off, it swam along, occasionally surfacing just enough to give us a glimpse of the back of its gray, barnacle-covered head and back. We were five minutes into our whale watching tour and psyched for more.
It was an amazing bluebird day in southern California. The temperature was just what Cali is famous for – warm enough to wear short sleeves, but not too hot. The Pacific Ocean ranged in color from teal to turquoise to deep blue. We decided that even if we didn’t see any more whales, the boat ride alone was worth the trip.
We did see one more gray whale; again we just caught a glimpse of its back as it surfaced a few times. The tour before us –they run two-hour whale watching tours throughout the day—and the tour after us had some amazing whale sightings. They saw whales breach and spy hop.
We would have liked more whale watching action, of course, but the time on the boat, the interpretive talk from the very knowledgeable captain, the sea lions, and view of the coastline were enough to keep us all happy.
I was also pleased to discover that despite what looked like a lot of people on the Dana Pride, it never felt crowded. We had no trouble getting to the railing on either side, the bow, or the stern. Below deck there was a galley (I am sounding pretty nautical here, aren’t I?) complete with a full service bar/snack bar, flat screen TVs, large salon area, and two story seating arrangement. It was so nice outside, we never made it in.
Dana Wharf Whale Watching has been doing this since 1971, so it’s a smooth operation. They also run fishing trips, art lesson trips, charters, and burials. There really is something for everyone.
As the Dana Pride turned around to head back to the wharf a pod of common dolphins found us. All around the bow, dolphins were swimming, jumping, and playing. Anders and Finn were beyond excited. I was thrilled. Watching dolphins play has to be one of the happiest sights in nature. We were all smiles and giggles as the captain sped the boat up. The dolphins moved to the back (as did we) and surfed the wake. Forget the sunshine and blue skies, the dolphins made the whole trip worthwhile.
Plan Your Own Trip
What: Whale watching with Dana Wharf Whale Watching
Why: Whales, dolphins, sun, sea lions, sailboats, and a couple hours on the sea.
Where: Dana Point Harbor in Orange County, California
Who: Anyone who can sit or stand on a boat for two hours.
How: Make a reservation online or call 888.224.0603
Do you love Cetaceans as much as I do? Don’t miss this video where I swim with beluga whales in the 45-degree Hudson Bay.
Disclaimer: Big thanks to Dana Wharf Whale Watching for comping us this tour – the opinions expressed here are my own and not influenced by the freebie.