What should I bring?
Think of your trip as if you were going boating with a small group of friends. What would you like to have along? Water? Sodas? Crackers & cheese? Wine? Feel free to bring it aboard. We do recommend plastics cups. If you bring alcoholic beverages, we ask that you use them responsibly and be respectful of others
Other items you might like to have with you: cameras, extra film, binoculars. sunscreen, a jacket or windbreaker. You get the idea!
We have all the items mentioned above and more available for purchase at our Dolphin Deck when you check in too!
What should I wear?
It’s generally about 10 to 15 degrees cooler out on the water, so a good idea is to layer your clothes. A shirt, sweatshirt, and jacket make a winning combination. Whenever possible wear tennis or deck shoes, preferably with non-marking (non-black) soles. If it looks like it may rain it’s always a good idea to have a raincoat or jacket on hand.
Is there a bathroom on board?
Yes, it is below deck so you must be able to climb down a small boat ladder – three rungs – to get to it. Our most frequently used vessel, Manute’a, has two bathrooms.
Can I video tape?
How far out do you go?
Usually no more than 3 miles, but we can go up to 8 miles from time to time, depending on where the dolphins are!
How old does my child have to be and how much will it cost?
We don’t have an age limitation, however, we do notice that most children under 3 years old get bored or fall asleep. We do go out of our way to make the trip more fun for them using miniature scale models of the whales and dolphins, as well as letting them see and touch actual whale baleen and whale vertebrae. We even let them take a turn at steering the boat! We also have life vests for children but you are welcome to bring your own. The cost for children 3 to 12 years old is $35 and if they are two or younger, they can go for free.
How far ahead of time should we check in?
Generally, 15 to 30 minutes is plenty of time. Allow a little more on busy weekend afternoons to find a parking spot. During the Gray whale migration season and in the summer we recommend you arrive between 30 and 45 minutes ahead of time. During the Festival of Whales weekends in March we recommend allowing one hour because it gets REALLY busy in the harbor!
What should I do about sea sickness?
If someone in your group has had problems with motion sickness in the past or you are concerned, consult your pharmacist. There are some new and improved ways to avoid this and they should be able to help you. If you do decide to take something make certain that you do so at least one full hour prior to the trip’s departure. Eat lightly beforehand, avoid spicy foods, carbonated beverages, get plenty of sleep, and avoid alcohol the night before.
For your convenience we have many popular sea sickness remedies including Dramamine, Bonine, Ginger tablets, and wristbands available for purchase at our Dolphin Deck when you check in.
What’s the best time of day to locate the whales and dolphins?
It’s just about the same on each trip. The morning trips are calmer because there is less wind, so we can spot disturbances in the water more easily. However, the later trips have the advantage of knowing the history from the prior trips. It’s really up to you!
Are the boats safe?
Yes! Each boat is U.S. Coast Guard inspected and certified. Manute’a is comfortable for 49 passengers while DolphinSafari.com is usually limited about 22 passengers so there’s some extra elbow room! Because both boats have two hulls, they’re extra stable and don’t rock from side to side like a traditional monohull. There’s ample room on board with enough seating for everyone in the cockpit. We’ve had paraplegics, quadriplegics, pregnant mothers, and 6-week old infants on board. They give a very smooth ride.
What if it rains or gets foggy?
If it’s safe, we go! Fortunately we don’t usually get much rain here in Southern California. But for those times the captain will make a decision as to the safety of the voyage just prior to departure time. You should be prepared and at the dock, ready to go! We do keep a few rain ponchos on board, but feel free to bring your own. The cockpit is covered and can be enclosed on three sides so most folks stay pretty dry even in a surprise downpour.
Can I cancel my trip?
No. However, if you do notify us that you will not be able to make your reserved time we will make every effort to fill your seats. If we’re successful, we’ll issue a credit which you can use at a later time. If we aren’t able to assist you in filling your seats you are responsible for your tickets.
Will I get wet?
No, there is no water coming over the sides, or ‘tipping’ of the boat. Folks who stay in the cockpit will be quite dry. However, the forward area of the boat is low to the water so that you can get closer to the dolphins, but that means that you will almost definitely get wet.
What if we don’t see whales or dolphins?
Then you’ll have had a great 2 1/2 hour adventure aboard a sailboat, seen the beautiful coastline, enjoyed the fresh air and had a wonderful chance to relax and be refreshed! (And you’ll have had one of my brownies, too!) On your next trip we will offer you a 50% discount and if we don’t see whales or dolphins on that trip either, then you don’t have to pay for the third trip. In all this time, we’ve only seen that happen twice! Remember that Capt. Dave locates dolphins well over 85% of the time throughout the year on our Dolphin Safari’s, and during the whale migration, we have even more to see!
Should we tip the Captain and crew?
Only if you really want to, but it is never expected. If you have enjoyed your trip, its always appreciated!
ANY OTHER QUESTIONS? Call us at (949) 488-2828 or email