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Dana Point Whale Watching Trek - Feb2013, CA
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80 by photographer avatarRandal_Schulhauser
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Dana Point Whale Watching Trek - Feb2013, CA 
Dana Point Whale Watching Trek - Feb2013, CA
Backpack avatar Feb 01 2013
Backpack26.07 Miles 1,000 AEG
Backpack26.07 Miles4 Days         
1,000 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Dana Point CA Whale Watching Feb2013

Dana Point CA makes the claim of being "the whale watching capital of the west" (check out => ) and plays host to an annual "Festival of Whales" the first two weekends of March => . For my wife's birthday present, we decided to select a 4-day weekend and cash in a bunch of my Marriott Rewards points to go whale watching...

Friday 2/1 - Arrived at the Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort (check out => ) just before 3pm, beating the dreaded L.A. rush hour traffic. After checking into room 3031, Lynn and I had time to explore Dana Point Harbour (check out => ), Lantern Bay Park (check out => ) and the sun setting into the Pacific Ocean as viewed from Doheny State Beach (check out => ). 5.06 miles logged on iPhone Trimble Outdoors Navigator app.

Saturday 2/2 - We booked a mid-day whale watching tour aboard the Dana Pride (check out => and ... ching.html ). With the early morning tour unloading at the Dana Harbour Wharf after having registered a big goose egg for whale sightings, Lynn and I boarded the 95 foot vessel with fingers crossed. I remembered my Thursday fortune cookie from P.F.Chang's indicating; "Nature has a gift for you", while staring at a couple of seagulls passing overhead. First destination for the Dana Pride was a large marker buoy laden with about a dozen sea lions. The boat headed north towards Laguna Beach when a radio call indicated there's been a whale sighting near the marker buoy we just left behind. A quick 180 and a full throttle burst back to the marker buoy to capture our first whale sighting - a lazy baleen whale sticking its nose up with some blow-hole action - thought to be a gray whale. With our ship captain getting annoyed at the gathering of boats positioning themselves illegally in the oncoming path of a migrating whale, he moves on towards the mouth of Dana Point Harbour where he thought he saw a "whale footprint". We are soon rewarded with a gray whale putting on a show with multiple breaches (apparently a rare maneuver for a gray whale, but common for humpback whales). I know I captured some images of the breaches - hope something turns out! 3.82 miles logged on iPhone Trimble Outdoors Navigator app.

Sunday 2/3 - Morning plans to check out the Ocean Institute (check out => and ) and afternoon plans to check out the San Juan Capistrano Mission (check out => and ). The trails from the Ocean Institute take you to some interesting tide pools near the Laguna Cliffs and Dana Point Marine Life Refuge. Took in some stellar views from the top of the bluff at the Dana Point Marine Life Refuge walking trails. We also checked out Heritage Park (see => ) and nearby Bluff Top Trail (see => ) on the walk back to the Laguna Cliffs Resort. 11.64 miles logged on iPhone Trimble Outdoors Navigator app. Sat back at the Laguna Cliffs Resort taking in the sunset, looking out on the water for whales, and downing a couple of Sam Adams while listening to the Super Bowl in the background...

Monday 2/4 - Morning plans for one last tour around Lantern Bay Park (check out => ) and Doheny State Beach (check out => ). 5.55 miles logged on the iPhone app before checking out of the Laguna Cliffs Resort. Also a San Juan Capistrano Mission (check out => and ) redux prior to hitting the road mid-day for the trek back to Phoenix via CA78 through the Anza Borrego (see => ) and the Salton Sea (see => ).

Excellent time by the sea! Surprised by the 4-day weekend mileage at 26.07 miles logged (5.06+3.82+11.64+5.55). Photos (360 images to sort through - yikes!) to be posted when I get the chance...
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