whale watching in dana point + a giveaway

Now the luscious food is out of the way… let’s get to my post about the actual reason for our whole little road trip! I was invited to go up to Dana Point for an afternoon of Whale Watching with Dana Wharf Sportfishing and Whale Watching! I was given the option of actually either deep sea fishing or whale watching and quite frankly, hours and hours on a boat did not appeal to me. But two hours I could totally deal with. After our delicious (and lengthy) breakfast at Tip Top Meats, we got up to Dana Point with just a little bit of time to spare.


The Dana Pride (the boat we were riding on) pulled up after a short wait and after a few minutes we were able to get on board.


Here we are starting to cruise out to sea. We passed this sea wall that was clearly lorded over by the sea gulls.


It was a truly stunning and beautiful December day. Mid-60’s, clear skies and lots of sun.


Jake and I were ready for the trip!


S and A, Jake’s two younger kids, we with us for the excursion. My dad let S borrow some binoculars which he wore ALL WEEKEND LONG. Seriously. The kid brought them with him everywhere, to the mall, to dinner and was looking through them as much as possible (like at the hotel room… on the car ride home, you get the idea). I have an inkling MAYBE he liked them. Maybe.


Here I am enjoying the ride. While it was slightly warmer than I thought it would be, I was still glad to be wearing a sweater since it was quite windy out there on the ocean.


Someone saw me taking a photo of Jake and the kiddos and encouraged me to get in a shot for once. You can see the coastline in the background on the right.


I liked watching the waves the boat was making. Here’s a little video of it:

After getting a little bit of distance from the shoreline (but still in sight of the shore) we finally encountered our first set of whales.


This is a set of Fin Whales (originally I thought it was “Thin” Whales but uh.. Fin makes a heck of a lot more sense). Our captain explained that Fin Whales are harder to track and predict since they kind of do whatever the heck they want. They can go for an undersea dive for up to 30 minutes, and it sure felt like that long as we stood and waited for them to resurface for another glimpse of them. This was the one time in my life I *really* wish I had a fancier camera with a better lens!


We had waited on that first set for awhile until we took off in another direction after another set of Fin Whales. I got a couple of slightly better photos this time.


The Fin Whales don’t do the neat dive in where their tail goes up, pretty much all you see is them breaking the surface like this and showing off their cute little fin.


You can see a bit of air coming from one of their blowholes!


Our two hours were nearly up after we chased down those two sets of Fin Whales. Our captain, unsatisified with our trip and saying we “worked too hard” to barely see the Fin Whales, decided to keep us out a little longer to catch sight of some California Grey Whales.

The funny part was we were standing in the front of the boat when he said this and he commented that S looked a little upset that we were staying out longer!

“I think I’m cutting in this kid’s video game time up here!” our captain said, much to my amusement. He truly didn’t understand how spot on he was since S is pretty much obsessed with video games.


Here’s a another pretty view of the ocean/shoreline.


And then we came upon a group of THREE grey whales! I got a tiny bit of a the tail going down for a dive.


And another sort-of shot of another tail and one other whale next to it. I didn’t manage to get a good shot of all three together, darn it!


As we set back to the shore, the sun began to dip down into the horizon.

Here’s a little video of us coasting back to shore with the sun behind us:


The sun started getting lower after we pulled in and piled out. We quickly raced to the car to try and find a good spot to watch the sunset! The harbor and the boats were pretty much blocking the whole view and we headed north towards a cliff and saw a road going up…

We hoped there would be a spot at the top and we totally lucked out! There was a trail and a parking area and we were able to get out in time to see this:


One of the most beautiful sunsets we’d ever seen.

Off to the right is Catalina Island – a place I’d love to visit someday!

All in all we were able to get a sneak peek at SEVEN whales that day! We felt blessed to see that many and to have the opportunity to go on such a lovely whale watching cruise. It was relaxing and peaceful and I loved just standing out there and watching the water and the waves.

The kids got a little bored/antsy since there were some dull moments while we patiently waited for the whales to resurface, but Jake and I didn’t mind one bit.

Thanks to our gracious hosts at Dana Wharf Sportfishing and Whale Watching, I have a great giveaway for you!

I am giving away a pair of tickets for you own afternoon of Whale Watching in Dana Point, CA!

To enter, leave a comment below telling me: Who would you bring with you on a whale watching tour?

Please also submit you entry via the PromoSimple box for additional official/additional entries! I just want to make sure I also hear from you, too!

Disclaimer: I was given complimentary whale watching tour passes on behalf of Dana Wharf Sportfishing. I was not paid for or further compensated for this post. You must provide your own transportation to Dana Point for the whale watching trip. The winner will receive two passes for a whale watching trip. Open only to US residents over the age of 18. One winner will be selected via the PromoSimple interface. Contest runs from now until January 10, 2014 at midnight PST.

Enter here:


mary likes baking.

7 Responses

  1. Elena says:

    I would bring my son

  2. Faye says:

    I love it when the captain gives you your moneys worth! What a cool dude. The sunset looks amazing. I can only imagine how romantic it musta been 🙂

    I haven’t done a whale watching thing in AGES. I don’t think I appreciated the whole grandeur of a large whale when I was kid. But now as an adult, I think seeing a whale in the water would be so much different you know?

    • mary says:

      Hi Faye! Harbor cruises and that sort of thing were completely BORING to me as a kid, but now I just like sitting back and enjoying the ride. Totally different as an adult! I imagine the same would be true for whale watching haha.

  3. Morgan Work says:

    i would definitely bring my husband!

  4. Susan says:

    Hi, I found your website while looking for information about Cream Pan. I really enjoy your posts. I would take my husband to see the whales if I were to win. I would love to see the whales. Thank you!

  5. Soo says:

    I would bring my kid!

  6. Christina says:

    I would definitely bring the boyfriend!

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