About Us

Avila Beach Whale Watching is a family run business that is passionate about sharing the natural beauty of the central coast with our guests. We moved here in 2007, arriving in our sailboat / home after 7 months of traveling from the US Virgin Islands via the Panama Canal and along the coast of Central America. We fell in love with the beauty of  San Luis Obispo County and for the first time in our lives put down some roots to stay.


 Hello i am Capt. Mark Kocina and I am the owner and founder of Avila Beach Whale watching. I am USCG licenced master of ships both sail and steam to 100 gross tons. In my lifetime I have taken over 25,000 guests on one type of maritime voyage or another. My experience with boating has a bit of variety. I started off at 18 working extensively as a white water rafting / kayaking guide on some the worlds wildest and most remote rivers. Guiding trips in the USA, Canada, Alaska, Africa, Costa Rica, Peru and Chile. Highlights were rafting as a stuntman on "The River Wild" and representing the USA at the 1995 White Water World Championships where we earned a silver medal. After 20 years of paddling I became interested in sailing and traveling by boat to experience more of the world which lead to captaining some very interesting research expeditions.


For 3 years before starting this business I ran the Science Under Sail program at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Working daily with the Aquariums top naturalists I learned a great deal about the Central Coast and its unique marine environment. If you join us for a tour we would greatly enjoy the opportunity to share some of this information with you and your family.

For several years now we have been looking for the right captain to add to our team. Someone passionate about wildlife and interested in providing an excellent experience for our guests. We are very happy to have found Captain Frank Orazio. Frank grew up sailing and fishing extensively in Southern California with his family. He moved to San Luis Obispo in 2002 to attend Cal Poly and like so many of us that live here found it hard to leave the wide open spaces and beautiful coastline. He has spent the past 21 years exploring the waters of the Central Coast, mostly fishing and has become well versed in the wildlife here. Frank USCG licensed captain and has worked in the maritime field as a deckhand for Dana Wharf Sportfishing and Whale Watching and also completed a semester at sea with the Cal Maritime Academy voyaging to the South Pacific. He is a very experienced boat captain and an excellent naturalist. We are excited to have him join our team.


We pride ourselves on running safe and educational boating tours and have taken over 18,000 guests out into the waters of San Luis Bay without a single injury or incident of any kind. We are the only tour boat company to have been in continuous operation here in Avila Beach since 2012.