It’s that time of year to catch a glimpse of nature’s gentle giants during Whale Watching Season taking place off the coast of Oxnard. The season officially begins the day after Christmas, December 26, 2019, and continues through April 2020. Trips depart from Channel Islands Harbor in Oxnard.
Island Packers, Ventura County’s official concessionaire to the Channel Islands National Park, provides 3 ½ hour non-landing narrated trips with morning and afternoon departures. The fare is $38 for adults; $34 for seniors 55+; $28 for children (3-12); and free for children 3 and under. Trips are available through mid-April.
Channel Islands Sportfishing Center provides half-day morning whale watching excursions during the week and on the weekend with morning and afternoon departures available. The rate is $58 for adults; $48 for seniors (62 and over); $48 for active military; and $38 for children (12 and under). Trips run through April 30.
For a personalized whale watching experience, visitors can charter a boat with Doug’s Channel Islands Tours accommodating up to six people. Charter boat rates are $200 per hour with a two-hour minimum. Wild Blue Adventures also offers 2 ½ hour whale watching trips aboard the Sunfish, a 53-foot vessel. Adults are $34 and children are $15.
Every year, an estimated 20,000 to 25,000 Pacific Gray Whales migrate through the Santa Barbara Channel on their way to and from the warm lagoons of Baja California, Mexico. A journey through the Channel Islands National Park and National Marine Sanctuary provide visitors the unique opportunity to experience the splendor and beauty of these giants of the deep. Besides whales, visitors often encounter dolphins, seals, sea lions, and a rich variety of bird life, some of which are endangered and protected.
A wide variety of hotel accommodations are available ranging from mid-priced rooms to oceanfront and seaside settings. For more information, call 805-385-7545 or visit the website at www.visitoxnard.com.