Greater Ventura News


Exclusive high-end whale watching tours offered in Ventura

11 Mar 2014 4:51 PM
Exclusive high-end whale watching tours offered in Ventura

In upscale coastal communities across the country, a common attraction that many residents frequent is sophisticated whale watching tours. Held at different times of day, these excursions allow adventurous individuals to get out into open waters and enjoy a number of up-close-and-personal views of various kinds of ocean wildlife.

One region where this activity is most exciting is along the West Coast, as California's favorable weather, pristine beauty and miles of charming coastline provide the perfect conditions for such relaxing and recreational endeavors. And, in the city on Ventura, a few local charter companies have updated whale watching with a modern twist. If you're looking to have a memorable experience exploring the Pacific and its diverse inhabitants, scheduling a tour with one of these businesses could substantially be to your benefit.

Channel Islands Helicopters
Hoping to get a new perspective on whale-watching? This family-owned company, based out of  Oxnard Airport, offers its clients the opportunity to experience breathtaking aerial tours of the Golden State's central coast, as well as exclusive views of magnificent creatures that few have ever seen in-person. Anywhere inside of a 10-mile radius, expansive pods of dolphins can be seen from inside the helicopter, as well as humpback, orca, grey, blue, minke and risso's whales. Passengers can also enjoy picturesque views of Silverstrand Beach, Channel Islands Harbor and Port Hueneme as well as Santa Cruz and Anacapa Island.

Currently, northbound grey whales and their calf populate the waters, stopping by to enjoy the seasonal conditions. Having been spotted as recently as Saturday, March 8, there is a good chance they will be seen in area waters for the coming weeks.

If you're interested in taking an aerial tour, you can reserve your 40-mile flight for $375. There is a minimum of two passengers required for each charter, with the opportunity to add a third for another $50. Those who want to make their expedition even more luxurious can opt for the champagne package. The company boasts a V.I.P Club that affords members with additional perks on subsequent tours.

Island Packers Cruises
If you're more accustomed to being at sea-level, there are a number of other high-end opportunities to take sightseeing tours of the ocean wildlife and California coast. For instance, this company, which was established in 1963, offers a variety of first-rate transportation services to all five islands in the Channel Islands National Park for exciting outdoor activities such as kayaking, camping, island hiking and harbor cruises, in addition to special whale watching trips.

Departing from both the Ventura and Channel Island harbors, the charter's more popular three-and-a-half hour excursions take passengers to the southern waters of the Santa Barbara Channel. Here, from late December to early April, outdoor enthusiasts can catch a glimpse of grey whales and the occasional pod of orca whales, in addition to other species of marine mammals. Adult tickets for these trips are $36 each, and children under the age of 13 cost $26.

From early May through September, the business regularly offers blue and humpback whale watching tours, which includes views of the Painted Cave, one of the world's largest sea cave. Exploring the western end of the northern Channel Islands provides the chance to see these whales in their natural habitat as they feed on krill. Adult tickets are $79 a piece, while children 13 years and under can gain admission for $59 each.

Half-day island wildlife cruises, in which individuals can view sea lions, seals, dolphins and other marine life, are routinely offered through the spring to autumn.