Island Packers Cruises Invites
Nature Lovers on Special Trips
By Katie MacDonald
Since 1968, Island Packer Cruises has
provided Southern California locals and visitors with steadfast, enjoyable
transportation between the Ventura/Oxnard Harbors and the Channel Islands
National Park & Marine Sanctuary. Over the years, Island Packers has grown
and so have its vessels — now larger, faster and more comfortable than ever
before. On every voyage, the crew imparts exploration, education, recreation
and research for those who are interested in discovering the exciting variety
of the Channel Islands National Park and its surrounding waters.
trips for 2014
Blue & Humpback
Whale Watching Cruise
Boats depart May through mid-September
from Ventura Harbor for
all-day whale- watching trips.
Sightings of Humpback whales
and the endangered Blue whale can be seen as they feed on swarms of krill. Concentrated feeding grounds tend to be located near the western end of the northern Channel Islands making the journey over 2-3 hours. The trip over often passes the west end of Santa Cruz Island, where one of the world’s largest sea caves, Painted Cave, is located. With weather and
sea conditions permitting, guests may have an opportunity to see one of the geological wonders of
the Channel Islands National Park up-close.
Time: 9:30 a.m. departure and 4:30 p.m. return
Cost: $79 per adult; $72 per seniors (55+);
$59 per child (12 & under)
Dates: Selected weekdays and weekend
Take advantage of the rare opportunity
to visit Cueva Valdez, the beautiful cove on the west end of Santa Cruz Island.
The trip will begin with a narrated
cruise, approximately one-and-a-half
hours, exploring the many coves, caves and arches along the rugged coast. If
weather permits, attendees will get a close look at one of the worlds largest sea caves, the Painted Cave. Frequent wildlife in the area to be on the lookout for
include Bald Eagles, seals,
sea lions and Risso dolphins.
After arriving at the Nature
Conservancy property, attendees will transfer onto a small shore boat for a
trip through a sea cave that opens to the beach of Cueva Valdez.
Time: 9:00 a.m. departure and 5:30 p.m. return
Cost: $65 per adult; $60 per senior (55+); $45
per child (12 & under)
Dates: Saturday, June 21 and Sunday,
Pelagic Birding Excursions
The 12-hour deep water pelagic trip
will be a chance to get far offshore to see which seabirds and marine mammals are moving through the area. Island
Packers will cruise south from Ventura into the outer waters near San Nicolas
Island, the banks, knolls, canyons and other proactive areas for bird
Date: Sunday July 13
Time: 7 a.m. departure and 7 p.m. return
$195 per person
Cruise far offshore in search of the
rare and special birds of Southern California. Island Packers will take a small
group of campers ashore on Santa Barbara Island, then circumnavigate the entire island, looking for specialty birds. The cruise will also tour the back shore of Anacapa and Santa Cruz Island. The stretch of ocean
between Santa Barbara Island and Anacapa Island is typically an excellent place
to search for Ashy, Black, and possibly Least Storm Petrels. Other common
sightings that guests could encounter while aboard are terns, shearwaters,
murrelets, jaegers and more.
Date: Thursday, August 21
Time: 8:00 a.m. departure and 5:00 p.m. return
Cost: $125 per person
Outstanding seabird leaders will be on
board the two trips. It is suggested that passengers pack food for the day or
they can purchase food aboard the vessel in the snack bar. Cameras, a warm coat and dressing
in layers are recommended. Advance reservations are encouraged.
For schedules, directions, tickets and more
information, visit www.islandpackers.com, or call (805) 642-1393. Island
Packers also offers various camping trips.