Friday, June 5, 2020

Up and running: Whales,wonders as California's Channel Islands resume tourism

It's thrilling to be back on the sea, after a near three-month absence. There are plenty of rules for boating in these
"Covid times," but for our travel dollar, it's worth it to be cautious, careful, and doing what we love again.
Island Packers in Oxnard and Ventura offers many options for enjoying
the beautiful and varied Channel Islands, here in Oxnard's marina.


The approach to Anacapa is thrilling, dolphins aplenty. 

AFTER BEING deprived of boating's pleasures for nearly three months, we feel like we're "walking on water" to be back on the sea.
Boarding a boat bound for whale watching is one of life's loveliest pleasures. We've watched whales here in California and around the world, and love the opportunities around Oxnard, Calif. So with joy we announce that two of our favorite California boating enterprises have weathered the Covid storms are are back in business.
ISLAND PACKERS cruises the beautiful and varied Channel Islands, and is based in Ventura and Oxnard, less than 10 miles from Channel Islands National Park. Channel Islands Sportfishing is also in Oxnard, a perfect home base for an excursion.
 The summer months are the best times to see humpback whales and blue whales, which are attracted by abundant krill. But because of Oxnard's jutting placement on the water, and the deep channels, there are whales and dolphins all year long. Seeing a magnificent sea creature, knowing you're sharing the planet with this magical being, is a thrill we share whenever we get the chance.
Channel Islands Sportfishing offers myriad options for adventure by sea. 
We've watched whales in Alaska, Mexico, Hawaii, Iceland, Russia and Norway, always with admiration and awe.
So three days with the whale-watching and fishing boats in the Channel Islands was a treat.
We researched the options and decided upon these two highly rated outfits, both well established and regarded.
 Island Packers and Channel Islands Sportfishing
If you want to catch a fabulous fish, here's your ticket.
have been around since the 1960s, known for their interesting rides and excursions to Anacapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa and even Santa Barbara and San Miguel in the Channel Islands.
A variety of activities awaits -- from whale, dolphin and seal spotting to camping, sport fishing, energetic hiking and user-friendly family treks. Naturalists with vast knowledge of the area are part of the entertainment.
AFTER A LONG Covid delay, both outfits are back in business with masks required, extreme hygiene standards and limited capacity. Staff are constantly wiping down the boats and offices and passengers are asked to avoid moving around excessively. We're intrigued by the Painted Cave Exploration, high on our bucket list with Island Packers.
Channel Island Sportfishing puts its emphasis on catching beautiful white sea bass, yellowtail and halibut.
"Captain Keller" piloted
his first boat as a 10-
year old boy.
Both businesses are well respected by locals, and have excellent well informed commentary to accompany your beautiful journey into the Channel Islands.
Cookie and Keller enjoy a snuggle near Anacapa, where they
saw whales, seals, dolphin and a beautiful coastline.

Clouds move about invoking the spirits
of seafarers and sailors of yore.
NOT TO BE confused with the European Channel Islands, west of France, famous for the German occupation during World War II, the U.S. Channel Islands are off the coast of lower southern California.  Beautiful to approach and largely uninhabited -- except for forest service naturalists -- they form an eight-island archipelago along the Santa Barbara Channel in the Pacific Ocean. Five of them are part of Channel Islands National Park and the beautiful waters surrounding these make up Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary.
Whale watching trips include both southbound whales going south to birth their calves, then migrating north with their calves, back up to their feeding grounds in the Arctic.  Whatever your choice, Oxnard's a good place to visit uncrowded waters with friendly staff -- a fruitful learning experince with appropriate Covid precautions. 

History and heritage offer a wonderful opportunity to learn about the
people and culture of the Baltic Republics, here in Tallin, Estonia.
UP NEXT: While travel in the U.S. is opening up, so is international travel. We feature our visit to Tallinn, Estonia, our most recent international trip before Covid changed the world -- and travel. We loved our time there, for its history, modernity, friendly people, fine hearty food and beautiful coastal terrain. Remember to explore, learn and live and catch us Fridays for a fresh look at travel, the arts, nature, family and more:


  1. Pacific Palisades SeafarersJune 6, 2020 at 10:44 AM

    Fun piece. Thanks. We love Oxnard. Hope it remains unspoiled.

  2. So happy to see this. Be safe.

  3. Exciting for us to hear this hopeful news. We are ready for the sea.