Whale-watching trips resume – Santa Barbara News-Press

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COURTESY PICTURES
A Pacific gray whale shows its tail during one of the Island Packers’ trips to the Channel Islands.

Island Packers, which offers daily trips to the Channel Islands from Ventura Harbor Village, has reopened and offers whale watching.

The company is the official boat concessionaire of the Channel Islands National Park.

Passengers on Island Packers voyages can see 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 seen in the National Marine Sanctuary near Anacapa and Santa Cruz Islands. Sightings began in late December and generally continue until mid-April.

This gigantic migration of more than 20,000 whales and 6,000 miles twice a year remains a major attraction in Southern California.

Sightings of the southward migration began in December for Pacific gray whales and humpback whales, fin whales and occasionally killer whales. Common dolphins are seen all year round, delighting passengers as they have fun with the boat and ride the waves bow and stern.

Island Packers have resumed daily trips to Anacapa Island.

The half-day winter whale-watching cruise offers stunning views of the Ventura coast or the Channel Islands, depending on where the whales can be spotted.

Winter whale watching tours are available through mid-April from Ventura and/or the Channel Islands port, departing at 9:30am and/or 1:30pm.

Prices for half-day tours are $40 for adults, $36 for seniors, and $29 for children ages 3-12. Children 2 and under travel free.

Day trips with drop-off to Anacapa and Santa Cruz Islands are also available year-round.

Day trips cost between $62 and $84 per adult. Camping is not available on the Channel Islands at the moment, but will resume soon.

For more information and recent sightings, visit www.islandpackers.com.

email: gfall@newspress.com

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