A Whale-Watching Adventure

We had so much fun this weekend going whale-watching!

I received tickets from Dana Wharf Sportfishing and Whale Watching Co., who hoped we’d have a good time and would do a write-up for my other blog — Things To Do In Orange County.

I’d never been whale-watching before, so I was excited to give it a try. And Superman had brought it up a few times as something he’d like to do. And both my teens were really excited about it. (Rene even had it on her “high school bucket list”!)

So we were off!

We went to pick up our tickets at will-call in Dana Point Harbor, then had about 45 minutes to kill, so we wandered around the harbor area and looked at the shops and boats. I always forget how pretty Dana Point Harbor is!

We chose a noon boarding time (options were 10 a.m., noon, or 2 p.m.), which was perfect because the morning gloom burned off right around 11:45, and it got sunny just as we were boarding.

We boarded The Dana Pride:

The four of us stood toward the front, on the right side of the boat (starboard??? I’d make a terrible sailor…), which was perfect because we had a great view of the coastline all the way up. It was fun to look at Orange County from the water:

We saw sea lions, plenty of seagulls, lots of beautiful coastline …

Then — about 40 minutes into the trip (and we were flying!), our captain spotted a Gray whale with her baby! He narrated where the Gray would probably pop up (“at 2:00,” he said, which — how fortuitous! — was right where we were standing). And he told us what to look for while he explained the Gray’s migratory and feeding habits. Then — there she was! We saw her spout, and her small dive back in, and her “flukes”:

Her baby would follow each time she’d pop up. We stayed here for about 20 minutes while the captain narrated more info. He knew there were about four minutes between each time she’d come up, so he helped us time our pictures perfectly. It was exciting to see.

Then the captain heard from some ships up north that there was a pod of dolphins traveling, so he jetted us up there to see them.

The dolphins were amazing! At least a hundred of them, all around the ship, all leaping out of the water in clusters of twos and threes, and riding right alongside us:

They were so beautiful:

The kids were just in awe. I wish I took video of those hundred-and-something dolphins leaping all around the boat!

Nate also discovered food in the cabin downstairs — they make burgers and fries and breakfast burritos — so he went down to order a “snack” and studied the whale information they had while he was waiting for his burger. He really seemed to love learning about all of this:

The two hours flew by, and next thing we knew, we were heading back to the harbor. The ride back was fun and relaxing as we looked at all the sailboats, paddle-boarders, workboats and more that make up the harbor and ocean area:

What a terrific day!

Here’s the writeup I did for the Things To Do in Orange County blog, which has a lot more tips and details: Whale Watching with Dana Wharf Sportfishing.

And here’s a link directly to Dana Wharf Sportfishing, if you want to go on your own adventure! : www.danawharf.com.

 

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7 thoughts on “A Whale-Watching Adventure

  1. What a great adventure. I hope to be able to time a trip to Calif from Florida for whale watching some time. We have the ocean and great beaches, but sadly, no regular whale watching opportunities.

  2. You would really like it, Helene! (And be sure to bring your camera!) If you time it to March-April, that would probably be your best bet. By then the whales are coming back UP the coast, and they have their babies with them, so the numbers have expanded. 🙂 Plus, Dana Point has an amazing “Festival of Whales,” usually in early March, which has lots of activities and information, and even some spots where people say they can stand on the coast and watch them go by! (I’ll try to write about the Festival next year.)

  3. I’ve been whale watching THREE times through this exact same outfitter (during this time of the year), and I’ve NEVER seen a whale:-( Even though I never saw a whale, I did still enjoy seeing the sea lions and dolphins and the beautiful ocean and coastline, though!
    Carrie´s last blog post ..Family Visit to Livermore

  4. Oh, no! Really, Carrie??? Do they keep giving you your ticket back? (Their site says that if you don’t see a whale, they’ll give your ticket back for another trip.) Did you get to see LOTS of dolphins at least???

  5. We have Whale watching tours out here too, but the weather isn’t near as nice as for you. It sounds like fun, and to see all those dolphins, that had to be amazing! =)

  6. Yeah, that’s right, Debi, we’re probably seeing the same whales moving by! Apparently, they come from Alaska, all the way down to Baja, before heading back up, so the same groups are traveling past Washington and California. 🙂 Do they do the whale watching from Seattle?

  7. I’m not sure about Seattle, we have them right next to me in Everett though. I would have to think if we do, they would. They have cruise ships coming and going from Seattle, I would imagine that as well =) I live right by the Sound on Tulalip Reservation. The water is pretty, but not really sandy beaches…and of course not the heat of Sunny CA! I hope you can come visit Ricky this summer – I would love to see you!

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