Ocean Safari

Venture offshore with our knowledgeable guides who will give you a deeper understanding of any pelagic creatures you may encounter. This tour offers unique possibilities for increased animal activity and up close encounters with various marine animals – to include but not limited to mola molas, whales, dolphins, bait balls and kelp paddies.

All you have to do is sit back in the comfort of our intimate charter boat and enjoy seeing some incredible marine wildlife! Of course, you have the option of jumping in the water! On our safari we’re equipped with kayaks and a specialized manta-tow called the Subwing which allow us to enjoy any opportunity we come by.

If you’re ready to do something different, come out with the SD Expeditions team and see how truly special the ocean is.

SD Expeditions goal is to provide you with a enjoyable safari. We are constantly monitoring weather conditions and keeping in touch with boat captains and other experts to remain informed about current ocean diving conditions.

So join SD Expeditions and do something different.

Interesting Facts:

How big are these molas?
The ocean sunfish is the heaviest bony fish in the world, and adults have an average weight of 2,200 pounds! We have encountered many smaller molas that tend to school with other younger molas, where as the largest molas we find are drifting in the ocean on their own.

The average length of a mature mola fin-to-fin is 8.2 feet – imagine swimming with a fish that large!

What’s with their fins?
Through the beauty of evolution, the tail was replaced by a lumpy pseudotail and the small pectoral fins were hardly enough to propel the mola’s large body around. Therefore the long dorsal and anal fins move side to side to propel the animal forward. Their thin dorsal often pokes out of the water and can look like a sharks because they often swim at the surface.

Are they edible?
The ocean sunfish is considered a delicacy in some Asian countries, particularly Taiwan and Japan. They are often victims of bycatch in drift gillnets, and in the California swordfish fishery, they make up 30% of the total catch.

On several occasions we have witnessed sea lions eating a small mola. They will often eat the inside flesh since the skin is thick and can be covered in parasites.


 Please check our calendar here for upcoming trips.


  • Board the boat at 9 am.
  • Listen to the captain’s Coast Guard safety briefing.
  • On our way out to the ocean, we will discuss ways to approach Ocean wildlife from the boat.
  • The adventure begins as soon as we are outside the channel, looking for whale blows, dolphins and kelp paddies to locate Mola Molas and other Pelagic life!

Food and beverages are provided to keep you energized over the duration of the trip – if you have any special requests, feel free to let us know.

Wilderness Disclaimer:

At SD Expeditions our goal is to provide you with the safest interaction possible. We are diligent about checking the latest weather reports and updates to remain well informed. However, we are out in the open ocean, and if weather conditions do not cooperate, we may need to head back early.

We are not in a theme park with domesticated animals, nor would we want to be. The excitement of not knowing exactly what you will see or encounter in the open ocean is what makes this excursion so amazing.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Do I need to be certified?
Since this trip is a snorkeling/freedive trip only, you do not need to be scuba certified to go on this trip. We do require all divers to have  snorkeling experience if they choose to get in the water, and if you would like to gain more snorkel experience with us, we do offer guided snorkel tours in La Jolla to help you feel more comfortable in the water.

What do I do with my belongings?
You can keep anything you need for the trip on the boat, and we recommend you lock anything you don’t need in your car.

When is the next trip?
You can view our calendar here for upcoming trip dates. We are constantly updating and adding more trips, so feel free to request a date. If none of these dates work for you, another option is to privately charter the boat for a day of your choosing. You can bring up to 6 total guests and have your own private Ocean Safari trip. For more information on private charters, please contact us.

How long is the expedition?
We will board around 9am in the morning, and return around 5pm.

What do I need to bring?

You’ll need:

  • A warm set of clothes
  • Towel, sunscreen, sunglasses or a hat
  • Seasickness medicine – we strongly recommend taking seasickness medicine as a precautionary measure. Take some the night before to get it in your system, and then take a full dose well before boarding the boat.

We provide gear, including wetsuit 7mm, mask, snorkel, fins, weight and weight belt. You are welcome to bring your own if you would like.

Do I need a camera?
If you have an underwater camera, by all means bring it. We also rent waterproof cameras for the trip, and you can keep the memory card with all of the photos and videos you captured.

What is your cancellation policy?
We require full payment at the time of booking to reserve your spot. You may cancel up to 2 weeks before the trip date for a full refund. If we need to cancel the trip due to unfavorable ocean conditions, you will receive a full refund.

What does the trip cost include?
The trip is all-inclusive, so it includes gear rental, snacks, water, and lunch. The only thing not included is any tip you would like to provide for the crew. 

Trip Information


Year Round


Offshore San Diego, CA (depart from Mission Bay)

Number of Guests:



9am – 5pm

Frequently Asked Questions