Sea Explorer

Looks like common dolphin because of the two tones. Cute calves! Photo by M.C.

Looks like common dolphin because of the two tones. Cute calves! Photo by M.C.

Ocean Institute offers a whale watching tour on the Sea Explorer, but the tour I am on doesn’t have any luck. This is an educational tour with a biologist on board along with interns and more staff than needed.

Along the jetty, are maybe ten foot, long-snout Bottlenose dolphins, busy watching fishermen. The curious mammals get close to the boat. A passenger is concerned for the dolphin’s safety, but dolphins like to swim with the boat and catch the waves.

Pink Brittlestar. Photo by M.C.

Pink Brittlestar. Photo by M.C.

There is also time for dredging up sand. There are a handful of children on board who have a chance to pick out the creatures from the mud. There are mostly worms and some interesting Pink Brittlestar which is a small sea star, but you wouldn’t really think that looking at it being so tiny with long, spiky legs coming out of a dot.

This boat barely rocks. I would recommend this tour if you get sea sick easily. Though some still get sea sick on this boat. I recommend taking an apple, saltine crackers and gum. I learned that from Capt. Dave’s Dolphin Safari down the road.

Dana Point Harbor Cove with view of Ocean Institute. Photo by M.C.

Dana Point Harbor Cove with view of Ocean Institute. Photo by M.C.

Ocean Institute’s whale watching is definitely different than Capt. Dave’s. I have to say Capt. Dave’s tour is special because the staff is awesome. Capt. Dave wants to bless people so he’ll cruise around to find a whale. He said the other captains tell each other about whale sightings. I like the catamaran, I always see whales and dolphins and you get a chocolate brownie at the end made by his wife.

The Ocean Institute tours are well priced with or without membership. Also, with the cruise you get free admission to the museum. And soon they are opening up to the public on weekdays, not just weekends.

I have seen other whale watching tours where they pack on the people. Both these tours are not overcrowded and do not endanger the marine life.

Ocean Institute, 24200 Dana Point Harbor Dr., Dana Point, CA 92629, Phone (949) 496-2274