Island Packers, which offers daily trips to the Channel Islands from Ventura Harbor Village, has reopened and is offering whale watching.
The company is the official boat concessionaire to the Channel Islands National Park.
Passengers on the Island Packers’ trips can view Pacific gray whales migrating through the Santa Barbara Channel from their feeding grounds in Alaska to their breeding grounds in Baja. Pacific Gray Whales are normally sighted in the National Marine Sanctuary near Anacapa and Santa Cruz Islands. The sightings began in late December and usually extend through the middle of April.
This mammoth migration of more than 20,000 whales and 6,000 miles two times a year remains a major attraction in Southern California.
Sightings of the southern migration began in December for Pacific gray whales and humpback whales, fin whales, and occasionally orcas. Common dolphins are seen year-round, delighting passengers as they frolic with the boat, and ride the bow and stern waves.
The half-day Winter Whale Watch Cruise provides stunning views of the Ventura coastline or the Channel Islands, depending on where the whales may be sighted.
Winter Whale Watch excursions are available now through mid-April from Ventura and/ or Channel Islands Harbor, departing at 9:30 a.m. and/or 1:30 p.m.
Rates for half-day trips are $40 for adults, $36 for seniors and $29 for children 3-12. Children 2 and younger ride free.
All-day trips with landings to Anacapa and Santa Cruz Islands are also available year-round.
All-day trips run from $62 to $84 per adult. Camping is not available on the Channel Islands at this time, but it will resume soon.
For more information and recent sightings, go to www.islandpackers.com.