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

We have the most unique dolphin and whale watching boats in the world!

Bring the kids, family and friends to get up-close and personal with mega-pods of wild dolphin up to 10,000 strong and whales all year round. Southern California has more dolphins per square mile than anywhere in the world and the largest concentration of blue whales on earth during the summer months. We see blue whales, gray whales, humpback whales, fin whales, minke whales, killer whales, and more!

Catamaran Sailboat "Manute'a"

Aboard Manute'a you can BE one of the pod and feel what it’s like to swim with dolphins and whales without getting wet in our two Eye-to-Eye Underwater Viewing Pods. Knowledgeable marine naturalists explain how these animals live while you see and touch our collection of whale and dolphin artifacts. You can listen below the surface too with our hydrophone. And Mrs. Capt. Dave’s yummy triple fudge brownies are served as a special treat on the ride back. Never crowded with a maximum of 49 passengers.

Power Catamaran "Lily"

Lily, Whale Research/Rescue Safari is a 49-passenger luxury power catamaran with state-of-the-art research and rescue equipment. Enjoy dolphin and whale watching in luxury with a beautifully appointed cabin, climate-controlled pilothouse, shaded upper sundeck, and spacious bow, all with cushioned seating, as well as a fully equipped galley. The sundeck and bow both feature rails enclosed with Lexan® glass for wind protection.

Contribute to whale and dolphin research and learn more about the lives of individual animals using our on board ID catalog. Explore beneath the surface with an underwater remote operated vehicle (ROV) that passengers can drive. See and hear dolphins and whales underwater with our hydrophone and underwater camera. A life-size common dolphin, micro-museum of whale and dolphin artifacts, and stunning photographic art throughout the boat immerse passengers in the world of dolphins and whales. Trips are broadcast live on our website. And Mrs. Capt. Dave's famous triple fudge brownies are served as a special treat!


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


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

Vessel types

Large boat (50+ passengers) • 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.


Catamaran Sailboats "Manute'a" and ""
2 and 1/2 hours: $59 adults, $39 children 3 to 12 years old. 2 and under free.

Power Catamaran "Lily, Whale Research/Rescue Safari"
2 and 1/2 hours: $65 adults and children.

About our skippers and naturalist guides

Coast Guard licensed Captain Dave Anderson is an experienced marine naturalist, award winning filmmaker, photographer, author, and conservationist. In 1995 Capt. Dave mounted an underwater camera and hydrophone on the bow of his boat and began taking his cameras on every trip to record what his passengers experienced first-hand. It took him five years to create the documentary “Wild Dolphins & Whales of Southern California”, an experience that has forever changed his life. Captain Dave organized Orange County's only whale disentanglement group in 2008 and was hands-on with Lily the Gray Whale’s disentanglement that made national headlines. Frequently called upon as an authority on wild dolphins and whales in this area, Capt. Dave has appeared on ABC, CBS, NBC, as well as local network affiliates and the Travel Channel. His photographs have appeared on the cover of newspapers and magazines and have appeared on special exhibit at various locales. He also worked with filmmaker Greg McGillivray for the IMAX film Dolphins, helping to locate large herds of dolphin.


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 • On-site visitor center / museum • 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

Toothed Whales

Killer Whale / Orca • Sperm 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

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