Whale Watching with Dana Wharf Whale Watching - TravelingMel
Sea lions on the dock in front of Dana Wharf Whale Watching boat, the Reel Fun.

Whale Watching with Dana Wharf Whale Watching

This post may contain compensated links. Find more info in my disclaimer.

For details on planning your own whale watching tour with Dana Wharf Whale Watching, scroll down.

Sailboats from the whale watching

Whale Watching

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.

A boy points to a gray whale from the deck of the Dana Pride.
“Thar she blows!” Finn points to a gray whale.

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.

Sea lions on the rocks at Dana Wharf.
Sea lions wish us bon voyage as we motor out of Dana Wharf.
Filming while whale watching for gray whales in the Pacific Ocean.
Henry gets footage for the awesome video you can (soon) see on our Youtube channel.
They love when I take photos.
They love when I take photos.

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.

Whale watching in Dana Point from the Dana Pride boat.
The Dana Pride can carry 149 passengers, but it didn’t feel crowded.

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.

Sea lions on the dock in front of Dana Wharf Whale Watching boat, the Reel Fun.
The Reel Fun is part of Dana Wharf Whale Watching’s fleet. The sea lions belong to Poseidon.

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



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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.

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