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When visiting Dana Point whale watching is a must-do and here is our review and recommendation for the best place to book your trip into the Pacific.
Disclaimer – This review is SPONSORED by Dana Wharf Whale Watching & Sportfishing who graciously provided complimentary tickets in exchange for our review but all opinions are our own.
Captain Steve My Hero
Dana Wharf provides four different whale-watching and dolphin-watching tours each day. My party was booked for the 10 a.m. tour on a Monday. Luckily for us, our captain for the day was Captain Steve.
Usually, you don’t have much interaction with the captain but just before customers were allowed to go down the gangplank to the boat I clumsily dropped my cane into the water below where I was standing in the queue. Whoops! That’s when Captain Steve came to my rescue unbidden. He quickly grabbed a large hook, walked over to where we all stood on the pier, and immediately fished out my cane before handing it back to me.
What a gentleman! What service. I was so impressed by his service that I would easily give Dana Wharf a five-star rating just for that alone. Customer service is so crucial and important for a comfortable and enjoyable cruise.
You will not be disappointed if you’re on a cruise captained by Steve. You’ll be in great hands even if you don’t have such a dramatic introduction.
A Naturalist Makes All The Difference When Whale Watching
When you are choosing the whale watching company you go out with, be sure they have a naturalist scheduled for the cruise you’re going on! It makes such a difference. The last time I went on a whale watching tour in Ventura, California, the captain seemed to double as the naturalist giving detailed updates of what we were seeing. However, what was so great and different during my Dana Wharf whale watching tour was that there was not just the informed captain but also a volunteer naturalist (Laura) onboard.
Laura not only was informed and educated but she also made a point of going around from party to party talking about what we were seeing, sharing her amazing stories and experiences, and answering questions. This turned out to be invaluable on my cruise because we sadly had no whale sightings but her stories were great and so vivid that it felt like we were right there when she had seen the whales in the ocean. She also was wonderful about taking time to proactively offer to take photos of each grouping on board the catamaran with our own phones at no charge.
For those who prefer to experience things on their own, she had several books of photos and charts left out on a table that you could browse during the two-hour cruise.
A Dana Point whale watching tour is a must-do when you’re vacationing in the area and you should definitely call or e-mail Dana Wharf (see below for contact information) about scheduling a tour that Laura is scheduled to be aboard. You’ll be so grateful you have her invaluable experience and wealth of information to learn from during your two-hour whale and dolphin watching tour.
A Spacious and Comfortable Catamaran
Embarking on a whale and dolphin watching tour? You’ll want to be able to find a catamaran that you can easily get around and with plenty of space both under the cover of shade and out in the fresh air where you can sit.
I am delighted to share that the Dana Wharf’s whale and dolphin watching 63-foot catamaran, Ocean Adventures, is able to comfortably carry 49 passengers. The accessible Lot’a Fun is a 47-foot catamaran that can carry 25 passengers. Both catamarans offer plenty of space for seating both under shade and outside in the fresh air. They also are equipped with cash-paying bars where you can buy snacks and beverages. In addition, Ocean Adventures is able to provide hot foods such as hot dogs.
Accessible Whale Watching Options
I’m delighted to share that Dana Wharf provides accessible Dana Point whale watching options! If you need to stay in a wheelchair and/or cannot manage a handful of stairs on and off the boat, please contact Dana Wharf via e-mail or phone (see below for how to contact them).
Laura, the naturalist, showed me the “Lot’a Fun” catamaran (see behind me in the photo above) that is step-free! This catamaran can be chartered for private tours and/or can be used for accessible whale and dolphin watching.
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How to Contact Dana Wharf Whale Watching & Sportfishing
Phone: (888) 224-0603
Private Charter: (949) 496-5794 ext.2
Address: 34675 Golden Lantern, Dana Point, CA 92629
Dana Wharf is located opposite Jon’s Fish Market – a great lunch spot before or after your whale and dolphin watching cruise!
Parking is FREE.
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