February 2008

There’s A Whale Of A Good Time In Dana Point Harbor

Each winter, thousands of California gray whales leave the cold Artic Seas and follow the coastline to the warm, calm waters of Southern California and Baja. This 5,000-mile migration brings much of the pod past Dana Point, where pods of giant grays can be easily seen and photographed.

Many believe Dana Point is a reference “landmark” for the whales and is famous as a gathering area; they trace one of nature’s longest migratory paths.

The gray whale has become symbolic of the vast, mysterious and fragile marine resources of the Pacific Coast. It is the most accessible for human observation.

During their southern migration, the whales tend to hug the shore. This allows for visitors to approach the whales in a peaceful manner, letting us make more intimate contact with them. Today’s whale watchers hunt with cameras and binoculars, not harpoons.

A Traditional Winter Watch

Due to the unique shape of Dana Point Harbor, it is ideally located for easy and quick access to board a boat and be in the open ocean in five minutes. Whale watching has, in fact, become a traditional winter activity in California. Dana Point Harbor is the official “Whale Watching Capital of the West.”

You can whale watch with others on a guided tour, or you can get your own group together and charter a boat for a guided cruise. The following companies offer various types of whale-watching trips from public to private; contact any of them to set sail for your particular adventure.

Dana Wharf Sportfishing – (949) 496-5794
Website: www.danawharfsportfishing.com

Dana Island Yacht Charters – (949) 248-7400
Website: www.danaislandyachts.com

Ocean Institute – (949) 496-2274
Website: www.ocean-institute.org

Aventura Sailing Association – (949) 493-9493
Website: www.aventurasailing.com

Captain Dave’s Dolphin Safari – (949) 488-2828
Website: www.dolphinsafari.com

Two-For-One Tuesdays

Dana Wharf Sportfishing and Whale Watching is once again offering its popular Two-for-One – two tickets for the price of one adult on whale watching and fishing excursions every Tuesday throughout the whale-watching season and year ‘round for the fishing.

Passengers purchasing one adult whale-watching ticket at $29 will receive the second one free. The same offer applies to the purchase of a sportfishing excursion at $35, with the second adult fishing free.

During peak season, 40 to 50 whales pass by Dana Point every day, making Dana Point Harbor the best spot to whale watch in Southern California. Since Dec. 24, passengers have seen not only gray whales, but also fin whales and minky Whales.

Dana Wharf has an 85 percent success rate and offers a guarantee to see whales or dolphins or ride again free. A sightings log is also available on their Web site.

Whale watching and sportfishing tickets can be purchased online at www.danawharf.com or by calling (949) 496-5794, ext 7, 6 a.m.-6 p.m., daily.

Dana Wharf Sportfishing and Whale Watching is located at 34675 Golden Lantern in Dana Point, and parking is free. Visit www.danawharf.com for more information.