Whale Watching Adventure in Dana Point Harbor with Dana Wharf

Whale Watching Adventure in Dana Point Harbor with Dana Wharf

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Review: Whale Watching Adventure in Dana Point

danawharfPictures courtesy of Dana Wharf

A couple weekends ago we set off on another So Cal adventure when the Dana Wharf invited us on a whale watching cruise! We got to experience some first hand sightings of magnificent ocean creatures and a boat ride too! We bundled up and set sail {okay so there was no actual sail involved but doesn’t “set sale” sound cool?}! We were hoping to see a whale. One whale. We ended up seeing  Gray Whales, Blue Whales, Humpback Whales, Fin Whales, Common Dolphins and Seal Lions! It was nonstop fun! A couple days before they even saw an Orca aka a Killer Whale!

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Dana Wharf runs multiple 2 hour whale watching trips each day so we watched the previous guest come in and then we were loaded onto the boat.IF

The toddler was beyond ready! She’s also back to doing some strange poses when I try to take her picture. She used to do that a lot when she was 1. Three is such an fun age and perfect for this kind of activity!

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The top level of the boat we rode pn had some great tables that you can sit at and view what is happening in the water. With a little one it’s a good idea to have a base camp, at least in the beginning as you get your sea legs and a feel for how the boat moves. I’ve been on lots of whale watching trips when I was younger, along with cruises and I tend to get a little sea sick. I was totally prepared to eat some salts crackers and stare at the horizon if need be. I was so happy that I felt great on the boat. This is one of the most stable rides with very little rocking. Nobody on our ride was sick or the one before us. It’s a common question for people to wonder if the boat is really rocky and it’s not. At one point we got into a wake that made the boat rock more than usual and the captain immediately said he was going to be moving the boat around a bit to make the rocking stop. I thought that was so cool!

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As we headed out of the harbor we went right past these guys and 50 of their close friends and family. It totally got us pumped up to see some dolphins and whales!

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I lost track on how far we went out before seeing the first whale. Maybe 10-15 min? The thing is that you can barely take your eyes off the water because it’s so exciting to spot a whale or dolphin.  The Toddler was trying to smile for this picture but as you can see, all she wanted to do was to watch the water.

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It was pretty cold up there on top so I would really recommend that you dress warmly and bring an extra coat or even a blanket!

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And then it started! We saw the first whale! The captain and crew were 100% dedicated to showing us as many marine animals as possible so as soon as an animal is spotted they make an announcement and maneuver the boat for the best viewing angle. They also are very respectful of the animals and abide by the regulations which keep everyone {including the animals} safe and happy. IF

I was a bit preoccupied with watching these guys and helping the little one see them so I didn’t focus too much on pictures. I’m glad I caught at least a couple shots of them!

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Having so much fun! The boat is roomy enough that the kids can stretch their legs and go to each of the sides to see what is going on.

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While the little one stayed right next to us the big girls were able to roam a bit.

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See how big the boat is…

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There is also an inside cabin. We took a couple breaks and went inside to warm up. There was plenty  of seating and you could still see what was happening out in the ocean.

 

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There was also an educator on board. He brought with him books about all the sea creatures. After we saw the whales we came down and found them in the book and then read more about them.  She absolutely loves books and is starting to read so she was thrilled to see the books!

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There is a great little snack bar too. You’d be surprised how hungry you get {even is you just ate} out on the water. We had some popcorn and chips! They do serve alcohol too if that’s your thing!

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The educator also had little models of all of the sea life we would encounter. Another huge bonus! When you see the wales and dolphins in their natural habitat we only see bits and pieces at a time and it’s hard for the younger ones to imagine just how big they are. I loved being able to show her and for her to get to touch and feel the whale models.

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There are so many fun things to do in So Cal that sometimes the best activities are accidentally left off our lists. I was guilty of this.  I had forgotten all about how cool whale watching is and how much my family would enjoy it. I am so happy that Dana Wharf contacted me and invited us. It’s hard to put into words how amazing of an experience whale watching can be. Just being on the boat is life changing. The tranquility of the waves against the blue waters make you feel so connected to the planet. Knowing that there are huge animals swimming around the boat is just awe inspiring. Then, when you see one surface it’s one of the most exciting feelings ever.

At one point we cruised right through a pod of a hundred dolphins or so. They were leaping out of the water and seemed just as interested in us as we were to them. I just sat back and tried to take it all in. It was like time stopped for a few minutes and I realized just how much bigger life is than just what happens in our daily lives. It was only a 2 hour tour, yet it felt like we had gone on a vacation to another world.

In the weeks since we went whale watching the girls have all talked about it multiple times. Each of us was changed. My oldest just loved the peace of the ocean. The calming sway of the boat jump started her creative juices. My middle one loved the dolphins. I don’t blame her. I can still see them jumping in the waves that the boat created and then swimming right next to us. They were so close I could have touched them. They created that closeness. They were having fun. My little one can not get over how cool the blowhole was. She loved watching the water get pushed up and make a fountain. One thing is for sure. We will be back!

Learn more about Whale Watching with Dana Wharf: website, Facebook, Twitter and Google+

I also took this video for you to see just how magnificent these creatures are!

Have you ever been whale watching?

Thank you again to the Dana Wharf for providing tickets to my whole family for this special whale watching adventure. We had a blast. We were provided complimentary passes to help facilitate this review. All opinions, pictures and video are my own unless noted.

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