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“Worth every penny!”

Capt. Dave's Dolphin & Whale Watching Safari
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US$65.00*
and up
Dana Point Whale Watching and Dolphin Watching Eco-Safari
Ranked #1 of 20 Tours in Dana Point
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Whale watch with Capt. Dave's Dolphin and Whale Watching Safari in Dana Point on our high-tech sailing catamaran year round, with two Eye-to-Eye Underwater Viewing Pods. For 20 years Captain Dave's has provided daily trips to see dolphins, up to 10,000 strong, leap and play right off our bow, plus Gray Whales (December through April), Blue Whales (May through November), and year round Humpback Whales, Fin Whales, Minke Whales, and so much more. Go underwater with whales and dolphins without getting wet during your whale watch in our Eye-to-Eye Underwater Viewing Pods aboard Manute'a. Listen to dolphins during your whale watching safari with our underwater Hydrophone. Celebrity and certified naturalists make this exciting Dana Point whale watching excursion educational and entertaining too. Mrs. Capt. Dave's famous triple-fudge brownies make this a one-of-a-kind dolphin and whale watching adventure unforgettable. We are a real Eco-tourism company providing only sustainable wildlife viewing. Ask about Fast Cat, our upscale Rigid Hull Inflatable Catamaran and the newest boat in our whale watching fleet.
Useful Information: Activities for young children, Activities for older children
Reviewed December 9, 2016

We called with short notice inquiring about a private tour. Everyone we spoke with was extremely accommodating and they made it happen in less than 24 hours. The crew on Dolphin Safari was great - the trip was educational, exciting and memorable! We understood there were no guarantees for sightings of any kind, but were pleasantly surprised to experience a large humpback whale. A very large tour boat with a bunch of people on board rolled in to see the whale and then rolled back out after just a couple of minutes. Perhaps because we were on a smaller boat, the whale hung around us for a while and we got to see the whale surface multiple times, roll and expose its flippers, and at one point it seemed curious enough that it swam right under the boat. Our crew was respectful of the whale, while at the same time providing us ample opportunity to experience its behavior. I can't emphasize enough that the private tour on a smaller boat was worth every penny. If you can't afford that route, I would still recommend this company as every aspect of their service - and respect for the animals - was top notch. I give them my highest recommendation.

Thank katestake
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CaptDavesWhaleSafari, Owner at Capt. Dave's Dolphin & Whale Watching Safari, responded to this reviewResponded January 2, 2017

Hi,

Thanks so much for your review and recommendation. We truly appreciate your kind words about Capt. Dave’s and I am so happy that you had an excellent experience on board our original catamaran, Dolphin Safari. I’m glad it allowed you to have an unforgettable safari as you spent time up-close with that awe-inspiring yet friendly Humpback Whale! I’m pleased that you liked the boat and crew as well. Thank you for joining us for a private charter – we’d love to see you again soon.

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118 - 122 of 811 reviews

Reviewed December 7, 2016

We saw so many dolphins. My daughter who dreams of being a marine biologist was with me and she was so ecstatic at the up close and personal view of all the dolphins and baby dolphins we had the pleasure of being so close to this day. It was a little cold as the sun was not out the morning we traveled and it was early in the day. We did not get to see a single Whale and that was a bit disappointing but we enjoyed the day none the less. No sea sickness so that was great and the crew very professional.

Thank FiveLthree
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CaptDavesWhaleSafari, Owner at Capt. Dave's Dolphin & Whale Watching Safari, responded to this reviewResponded January 2, 2017

Hi,

Thanks for your review. I’m so glad you and your daughter liked our crew and had a comfortable safari, viewing large pods of active wild dolphins up-close. I wish we could have shown you some magnificent whales. Dana Point has year-round dolphins and whales, and we often see Blue Whales, Gray Whales, Humpbacks, and more. Is there anything we can do to improve and earn 5 stars from you next time? Thanks for joining us, and I hope to see you again soon!

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Reviewed December 6, 2016

First, they called two days before the day of the cruise and switched boats, so that we wouldn't have the underwater viewing boat, but instead were on the "Lily." Then, on the day of the cruise, we saw NOTHING, and the captain turned back after an hour and 15 minutes because of bad weather (which I completely understand). He assured us that we could take another cruise, no time limit on use, and if we were not local that "accommodations would be made." In fact, when I called to request accommodation because I live on the east coast, they not-so-politely declined. Bottom line: I would warn vacationers against choosing Captain Dave's...so disappointing after all the good reviews.

Thank leslie r
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ArielleA, Owner at Capt. Dave's Dolphin & Whale Watching Safari, responded to this reviewResponded December 8, 2016

Dear Leslie,

Thank you for your review, and for sharing your concerns with us. I am so sorry that your experience with Capt. Dave’s was less than stellar. We strive very hard to provide each of our valued guests with an exciting trip and top-notch customer service.

I usually have our manager's reply to reviews, but your recent statements gave me pause and I wanted to take some to think about it, and thoughtfully respond.

First, to address the change of vessel. We regret that our catamaran Manute’a could not be ready in time for your trip, due to being out for annual maintenance. We take pride in the high quality of our whale watching vessels and therefore regular maintenance is a top priority. This year's visit to the shipyard took longer than usual as we decided to do many upgrades, including all new underwater viewing pods, as well as several mechanical and aesthetic upgrades. We strive to keep all our vessels looking amazing and sometimes that means extra time and money. However, we did upgrade your trip to our luxury catamaran Lily, which is a beautiful, upscale boat, and well suited for our up-close dolphin and whale watching safaris.

On the day of your trip, the weather was challenging. While it was very safe to go, it didn't appear to be an optimal day. because of that, we do something that no other whale watching company I know of does. We told you it would be bumpy, we explained it would limit sightings and we recommended you reschedule to another, better-weather day. But you decided to you had to go on that day. Because of your decision and similar ones by others passengers, we kept our end of the bargain and took you out. You could have chosen to go on any future date, Leslie. But you chose not to do so. During the safari, even though your Captain was still willing to stay out on the water, and conditions were still safe despite the poor weather, all the passengers on board voted to turn back early, which is why the trip was shorter than it should have been.

Wildlife sightings are also out of our control, although we certainly wish otherwise! Since you were unable to enjoy any animal sightings, we are happy to welcome you back for one FREE trip within a year from the date of your “no sightings” safari, even though we had already taken you out on this trip!

On December 5th you contacted us because you thought that you should receive a refund for the trip. Despite the fact that you had already received a sizable discount on your initial reservation. Despite the fact that you chose not to reschedule when provided with the opportunity to do so. And despite the fact that we gave you the chance to join us again for FREE. Despite our extending to you all courtesies possible, you rudely demanded a refund and even slammed the phone down in our manager's ear when she wouldn't tell you what you wanted to hear.

It is very clear that this review was written for the sole purpose of retaliation when we did not give in to your demands. Our staff very much enjoy reading and communicating with our guests via TripAdvisor. And we welcome all thoughts and suggestions - they help us improve even more! We can't help but feel sad when an individual uses the site for a blackmail type of purpose.

The next time you go to a baseball game and it's rained out, or a concertand you don't care for the performers, will you expect a refund for those events as well? or would be grateful that they were willing to extend to another opportunity to return at no extra charge?

We hope you will reconsider your rating and place a higher value on the consistent and excellent customer service we provided, the flexibility to reschedule and the generous offer to return at no extra charge.

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Reviewed November 29, 2016 via mobile

November isn't a great time for seeing whales but we saw plenty of common dolphins. It is a great trip and the sea is abundant with wildlife so the trip gets going very quickly. The crew are really knowledgeable. This was my second trip and it is the luck of the draw, last time in October a few years ago we saw a blue whale.

Thank SueH2000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CaptDavesWhaleSafari, Owner at Capt. Dave's Dolphin & Whale Watching Safari, responded to this reviewResponded December 7, 2016

Hi,

Thank you so much for your review and photo. It’s wonderful to read that you enjoyed spending time with the playful wild dolphins on your recent safari. I’m sorry you didn’t have the chance to view any whales, because there are different kinds in our area year round, like Humpback Whales, Fin Whales, and Minke Whales. I’m thrilled that you saw a magnificent Blue Whale on your first trip out with us! And I’m so glad you liked our crew. Thanks for being a valued repeat passenger. I hope we will see you again soon.

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Reviewed November 24, 2016

My wife and I have traveled extensively and this Tour is on the top of our lists. Capt. Daves and the whole crew are outstanding and work like a really coordinated team. We were expecting an off season tour with few whales or dolphins. What a pleasant surprise when there were Dolphins everywhere and some up close encounters with whales. This was 2 1/2 hours of excitement and leaning. The entire crew showed a great respect for the environment and the wildlife. This tour was a 46th Anniversary present for my wife. We thoroughly enjoyed every moment.

Thank biehler2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CaptDavesWhaleSafari, Owner at Capt. Dave's Dolphin & Whale Watching Safari, responded to this reviewResponded December 5, 2016

Hi,

Thanks for your review. We really appreciate that you chose Capt. Dave’s to help celebrate your special anniversary. I am so pleased that you saw a large number of fun dolphins, as well as up-close sightings of impressive whales! Fortunately we don’t really have an “off season” in our area. All year long we are able to see about 5 different kinds of wild dolphins, and several kinds of whales, including Blue Whales, Fin Whales, Humpbacks, Gray Whales and others. I’m glad you liked our crew and the informative narrative they provided. Thank you for coming out on a dolphin and whale watching safari with us. I hope we’ll see you again soon.

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