Orange seaweed floats on midnight blue water as Lily gets underway. Barely out of harbor are two adult gray whales seen ahead—dolphins splash off to the side. With Captain Dave at the helm he steams leisurely, respecting the wild life at a distance. A smaller boat speeds across toward the dolphins. The Captain explains that this sort of action causes the whales to change course. Not much longer, one of the gray whales shows its large fluke covered in barnacles and white lines from rubbed off barnacles. Patience pays off.
Another whale watching tour is seen going by, packed with people. Captain Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Safari in Dana Point, California on Lily is a 49-passenger luxury power catamaran with a lounge and kitchen. The grilling of veggie and beef patties wafts through the sea air. There are plenty of inviting upholstered seats. Annabelle, a Chihuahua mix, sits with one of the crew at the counter close to the food. Her over-sized black ears shake in earnest for a morsel from her master. Another boat steams nearby with a Golden Retriever following a lady in an orange dress blowing in the breeze.
The boat is also equipped with rescue equipment that helped save Lily—the gray whale tangled in gill net—a story Captain Dave loves to tell. And, SeaWorld did help in the rescue—they do some good. The Lily story is sad. Captain Dave would like you to know that 1000 dolphins and whales get caught in nets each day around the world.
Heading into harbor, sea lions lazily huddle on a red buoy. At the highest level is an adorable baby sea lion resting its head on a cross rod with—assuming mama—at the bottom, spread out.
Standing at the stern, the best spot for sea sickness, the screws kick up the water leaving a column of white bubbles with a light shade of seafoam underneath.
This may be the most beautiful weekend in SoCal—the blue sky says it, the blue ocean says it and the traffic says it. Captain Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Watching Safari is a great escape from the heat and traffic.
Captain Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Watching Safari, 24440 Dana Point Harbor Drive, Dan Point, CA 92629, (949)488-2828, www.dolphinsafari.com.