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Capt Dave's Dolphin and Whale Safari | Whale & Dolphin Watching

For twenty years Captain Dave’s Dolphin & Whale Watching Safari has provided daily, year-round, trips to see huge herds of playful dnullolphins and the largest animals that have ever lived. When it comes to year-round sightings, great weather, and easy accessibility, Southern California wins five stars in year-round whale watching!


Why Captain Dave’s Dolphin & Whale Watching Safari?

Because you and your family deserve the very best!

1. Our trips to see dolphins and whales are the highest rated in Orange County on TripAdvisor, Yelp, and Google+. 

2. Captain Dave’s unique catamarans are never crowded with a maximum of 49 passengers. Some of our vessels carry even fewer guests for an intimate whale watching experience.

3. We are a real Eco-tourism company providing only sustainable wildlife viewing. Your friends and family won’t be watching whales from a fishing boat. 

4. Our knowledgeable marine naturalists explain how these animals live for a fun and educational oceanic adventure that adults and children of all ages will love.

5. Exclusive Eye-to-Eye Underwater Viewing Pods! Go underwater, and without getting wet, feel what it’s like to swim with dolphins while aboard our catamaran Manute’a.

6. Captain Dave and rescue team members have been recognized worldwide for their conservation and whale rescue efforts.

7. Mrs. Captain Dave’s famous Triple Fudge Brownies are served complimentary on every whale watching trip. Many returning guests tell us they loved the brownies more than the wildlife!


Captain Dave’s Most Unique Whale Watching Boats

Our high-tech, high-speed, 50-foot catamaran sailboat Manute’a is our most popular boat and is the primary boat used for our daily trips to see dolphins and whales. Above the water or below in our exclusive Underwater Viewing Pods, Manute’a offers an up-close, eye-to-eye, better than Disneyland, unforgettable experience!

Capt. Dave’s original catamaran sailboat,, provides an intimate (only 20 passengers), immersive, wildlife-at-your-finger-tips adventure. is so close to the water that it’s like viewing dolphins and whales from a kayak! Watch dolphins swim inches under your feet while standing on her Eye-Spy Dolphin Tram Nets on the bow!

You’ll enjoy a pampered wildlife voyage aboard our 62-foot power catamaran, Lily. This boat offers luxury whale watching with features that include a beautifully appointed cabin and pilothouse, both with comfortable seating and panoramic windows. The bow and shaded upper sundeck have cushioned seating and rails enclosed with Lexan glass for extra wind protection.

Orange County’s first U.S. Coast Guard inspected rigid hull inflatable boat, (RHIB), is our new catamaran Fast Cat. Turbo charged for fun, Fast Cat offers a high speed, smile-plastered-to-your-face, exhilarating thrill ride with upscale features such as heavily padded seats with seat backs, large custom sunshade, and custom teak floor. And with speeds up to 30 knots, small groups of up to 12 passengers will spend less time looking for animals and more time enjoying them.

ORCA, our 38-foot luxury motor yacht, is available for intimate whale watching private charters with up to six guests. Upscale and fast, ORCA provides  all the amenities for a family or small group of friends to enjoy a fun day of whale watching and sightseeing or media productions looking for a speedy yacht with experienced wildlife naturalists.


Private Charters and Ash Scatterings at Sea

All of the boats in our fleet are available to privately charter.  A charter allows for customization not provided on our regular whale watching trips. Our Charter Coordinator will work with you one-on-one to arrange the perfect adventure for your group or family. Private charters are perfect for family reunions, birthdays, anniversaries, or other special occasions, a casual get-together, as well as corporate functions, team building, and professional media productions. To learn more or arrange a private charter, please call us 949-488-2828 or visit our website,


Scattering ashes at sea, sometimes called a burial at sea, is a celebrated tradition dating back to early human history and spanning many faiths. We provide the opportunity to disperse ashes at sea off the beautiful coast of Orange County, California, from the comfort of a private boat. Several vessels are available to choose from, all Coast Guard certified and operated by licensed and professional Captains, for a peaceful and dignified final farewell. Rates are based on your customized charter preferences. Personalize the memorial with options including, but not limited to, music, poems from family and friends, minister or officiant, dove release, floral arrangements, and more. To learn more about ash scatterings at sea, please give us a call at 949-488-2828 or visit our website,



January • February • March • April • May • June • July • August • September • October • November • December


Short (1-3 hours) • Half-day (3-6 hours) • Full day (6-9 hours)

Vessel types

Large boat (50+ passengers) • Rigid inflatable • Small boat (0-50 passengers) • Under sail / Yacht

Times and prices

Daily departures, year round. Trip times vary. Please call 949-488-2828 or view our online whale watching reservation calendar for specific availability.


2 and 1/2 hour Regular Dolphin & Whale Watching Signature Safari on "Manute'a"

Adults: $65 per person

Children, ages 1 – 12: $45 per child

Infants, up to 12 months: $20 per infant

Departures are available daily, year-round. 


For additional pricing please call us at 949-488-2828 or visit

About our skippers and naturalist guides

An award winning filmmaker, author, and whale disentangler, Captain Dave Anderson is a leader in ocean wildlife education. Frequently called upon as an authority on dolphins and whales, Captain Dave has appeared on ABC, CBS, NBC, Travel Channel, Discovery Channel, Nova, and National Geographic. He has been featured on CBS Evening News, Eye on L.A., the Today Show, CBS This Morning and the Ellen Show for his conservation efforts.  His photographs have appeared on the cover of newspapers and magazines and his film footage in theatrical films, most recently in the Academy Award nominated film, RACING EXTINCTION. His award winning documentary “Wild Dolphins & Whales of Southern California”, and book “Lily, A Gray Whale’s Odyssey” have drawn people worldwide to Dana Point. He has received worldwide acclaim and nearly 17 million views for his breathtaking drone videos featuring dolphins and whales. In 2014 he was a keynote speaker at the Los Angeles Drone Expo.


Access to wheelhouse • Deck with 360?vision • Hands-on materials (bones, shells etc) • Naturalist guide(s) as well as skipper • On board hydrophone • On board video • Onboard research • PA system • Posters / displays / maps • Public participation in research • Reading material available • Restrooms / toilets on board • Scenic backdrop to encounters • Snacks / drinks • Support conservation • Use a code of conduct

We frequently

Listen to whale song • Listen to whales and dolphins • See a whale's tail • See leaping dolphins • See leaping whales • Showered by whale blows • Watch whales and dolphins

Baleen Whales

Blue Whale • Bryde's Whale • Fin Whale • Gray Whale • Humpback Whale • Minke Whale • Sei Whale

Ocean Dolphins

Bottlenose Dolphin • Long-beaked Common Dolphin • Pacific White-sided Dolphin • Risso's Dolphin • Short-beaked Common Dolphin • Striped Dolphin

Other wildlife and points of interest

Orca (Killer Whales), Pilot Whales, Sperm Whales, False Killer Whales, Basking sharks, Great White sharks, Hammerhead sharks, Mako sharks, Thresher sharks, Blue sharks, Elephant seals, Harbor seals, Mola mola (ocean sunfish), and birds including endangered Brown Pelicans, Cormorants, Blue Herons, Arctic Terns, and more.

24440 Dana Point Harbor Drive
Town / City
Dana Point
State / County
Zip / Postcode
United States
(949) 488-2828
David Yuill
Up close and personal trips
Traveled: 2011-09-18, Reviewed: 2011-09-27
Safe approach to whales / dolphins
Valuable learning experience
Trip meets expectations
Minimal impact on the marine environment
Own research / support for conservation
Captain Dave & Crew take people out on small catamarans to give folk the experience of meeting Southern Californias marine wildlife up close and personal, with educational presentations throughout the trip to explain how they are involved in preserving the environment for the surrounding wildlife.

Saw plenty of dolphins and about 5 blue whales in one trip alone. I've been on about 10 trips so far throughout the years with these guys.
Claire Bass
Fantastic - would recommend a trip with Captain Dave!
Traveled: 2009-09-20, Reviewed: 2011-08-09
Safe approach to whales / dolphins
Valuable learning experience
Trip meets expectations
Minimal impact on the marine environment
Own research / support for conservation
Click to browse all boats
2013 Responsible Whale Watch Partnership:Click here to read more about the partnership