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Dana Point is the Dolphin & Whale Watching Capitol of the World!

The Successful Collaboration Between Rival Business Women Pays Off!  

Giselle Anderson, of San Juan Capistrano and Donna Kalez, of San Clemente, who both own whale and dolphin watching charters operating out of the Dana Point Harbor had been fierce competitors, each bidding for the same customers wanting to see dolphins and whales.

In 2018, Kalez and Anderson decided to put their rivalry aside and began the long process to create a trademark. At first, they considered involving the city and spoke with then-Mayor Debra Lewis, but they realized it could take years to work through the red tape. They also hit up the Ocean Institute and Visit Dana Point. It became apparent that if they wanted to do it, they had to do it on their own. They hired Michael Markos, a trademark attorney in Arizona, who explained the process and told them what was needed for a solid application. He gave them a 10% to 15% chance at securing the trademark  On July 18, 2018, they filed for their first trademarks.

In their application, Anderson and Kalez cited facts that set Dana Point apart.

  • There is a greater density of dolphins per square mile just off Dana Point than anywhere else in the world.
  • There are year-round opportunities to see multiple species of whales such as blue, fin, gray, humpback, minke, killer, pilot sperm, false killer and Dall’s porpoise.
  • The area also has a moderate climate and mild ocean conditions providing opportunities for year-round outings and sightings.
  • Unlike other Southern California harbors, Dana Point has no towering buildings, oil rigs, or large ships that can distort whale-watching encounters.

The city also is home to the world’s first and longest-running annual whale festival, celebrating the migration of gray whales which begins in December and continues through March. The journey — a 10,000- to 12,000-mile trip from feeding grounds in the Bering Sea to the warm lagoons of Baja where many whale calves are born, This is the reason tens of thousands of Southern Californians visit Dana Point in early March. During the peak of the season, experts say, 40 to 50 whales pass Dana Point daily.Dana Point is also home to Orange County’s Large Whale Disentanglement Team.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark office determined their idea was unique and that the criteria they established for calling Dana Point the whale-watching capital of the world was valid.  Anderson and Kalez got preliminary approval of the trademarks in November and after no challenges were submitted, the trademarks were finalized in April 2019.

Gisele Anderson and Donna Kalez have reason to celebrate their joint accomplishments declaring their city “Dolphin & Whale Watching Capital of the World.” And now no other location in the world can legally make that claim.

The team of Anderson and Kalez are looking for endorsements from the Dana Point City Council and the County of Orange. They are also planning to go to Sacramento and ask that the state to declare California home to Dana Point, the Dolphin and Whale Watching Capital of the World.  They also hope to receive a federal declaration of a national dolphin and whale-watching day.

This is truly a story of hard work, determination, collaboration and a grand vision from two successful Orange County Women. To read more please visit: or visit:  or

Now let’s go find some whales and dolphins!!