Winter Escape to the Channel Islands with Island Packers

Island Packers, the official boat concessionaire to Channel Islands National Park, is now open (as of January 29, 2021) running daily departures to the Channel Islands from Ventura Harbor Village. Winter is the ideal time to see the Pacific Gray Whales migrate through the Santa Barbara Channel. They start in their feeding grounds in Alaska to their breeding grounds in Baja.

Sightings of the Pacific Gray Whales are normal in the National Marine Sanctuary near Anacapa and Santa Cruz Island beginning in late December and extending through middle of April 14, 2021. Over 20,000 whales make the 6,000 mile trip twice a year.

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So far, sightings of the southern migration for Pacific Gray Whales have also included humpback whales, fin whales, and occasionally orcas. Common dolphin always entertain passengers as they frolic and ride the bow or the stern in the boat’s wake.


 For Island Packers most recent sightings visit or find them on Twitter.

Start a half-day Winter Whale Watch Cruise viewing the Ventura coastline out to the Channel Islands. The captain may change course, depending on where the whales may be sighted.  

Winter Whale Watch excursions now thru mid-April from Ventura and/ or Channel Islands Harbor depart at 9:30 a.m. and/or 1:30 p.m.  Rates for half-day trips are $40 for adults, $36 for seniors, and $29 for children 3-12. Children 2 years old and younger ride free.  

All-day trips with landings to Anacapa and Santa Cruz Island are also available year-round. On Santa Cruz, both Scorpion Anchorage and Prisone’s Harbor are now open. All-day trips run from $ 62.00 to $ 84.00 per adult.  Camping is open again on all of the islands except at Scorpion Campground on Santa Cruz Island.

The crew aboard the whale watching cruises have years of experience sighting whales and other marine life. They narrate and inform guests throughout the cruise about marine mammals, sea birds, and the coastline

 5 COVID- 19 Safety protocols keeping visitors safe and comfortable while cruising the Channel Islands include:

  1. Passenger loads limited to under 50% capacity to better facilitate social distancing.

2. Island Packer employees are health screened before every shift.

3. Eating and drinking permitted outside cabin area 

4. Passengers will be given a health inquiry before being allowed access to office or boats and everyone required to wear face covering on board vessels

5. Office and boat crew wear appropriate PPE when in contact with the public

For more information about Island Packers, call 805-642-1393  or book or visit online at Island Packers at 1691 Spinnaker Dr., Suite 105B, in Ventura Harbor Village. For visitor information, contact Ventura Harbor Village at 805-477-0470, online at Ventura Harbor Village is located at 1583 Spinnaker Drive in Ventura. 


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