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Caroling Cruises and Winter Whale Watching with Island Packers

| Entertainment | December 5, 2019

Island Packers, boat concessionaire of the Channel Islands National Park, provides scheduled whale watching excursions from Ventura and Channel Islands Harbor. They are currently offering gift certificates that can be purchased by telephone now through the holiday season and mailed to the customer or to someone of their choosing. Trips can be booked online for family and friends during the holiday season. Island Packers offers a half-day, non-landing whale watch as well as an all day trip that lands on Anacapa, Santa Cruz or Santa Rosa Island. One-hour caroling cruises will also be available from Dec. 7 through Dec. 23.

The Pacific Gray Whales are normally sighted in the Marine Sanctuary near Anacapa and Santa Cruz Island starting mid December. This mammoth migration of over 20,000 whales covering 6,000 miles is a major attraction in Southern California. Thousands view the huge mammals from vantage points along the shore or aboard commercial and private boats.

Island Packers has the following trips available:

Half-Day Winter Whale Watch Trips (no landing), almost daily Dec. 26 through April
$38 adult, $34 senior, $28 child
3½ hours mid channel or near the Channel Islands for the Pacific Gray Whale migration.

Half Day Island Wildlife Cruises (no landing), frequent weekends and selected dates year-round
$38 adult, $34 senior, $28 child
North shore Anacapa Island wildlife cruise up close to view Arch Rock, lighthouse and sea lion rookeries.

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Three Quarter Day Island Wildlife Cruises (no landing), selected dates fall and summer months
$57 adult, $53 senior, $42 child

One-hour Holiday Caroling Cruise in Ventura Harbor, 6:30 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
$16 adult, $13 senior (55+), $10 child
Caroling on board through the marinas and the Ventura Keys, as passengers enjoy the holiday lights with family and friends.

Ventura Harbor Parade of Lights Cruise and Fireworks, Dec. 13 and Dec. 14
$35 adult, $32 senior, $25 child
Cruises depart at 6 p.m., 6:20 p.m. and 6:40 p.m. for approximately 2½ hours to view the holiday lights and boat parade, ending with an onboard view of the fireworks display.

Anacapa Island landing trips, selected dates
$59 adult, $54 senior, $41 child
Take a guided hike or hike on your own the 1½ mile loop on the east end of Anacapa Island.

Prisoners Harbor and mid Santa Cruz Island landing trips, selected dates
$59 adult, $54 senior, $41 child
Other special trips landing on Santa Cruz with The Nature Conservancy to be announced for spring and summer. Prospective destinations include: Cueva Valdez Anchorage, Willows Anchorage and Fraser Point.

Santa Rosa Island landing trips, three or four days per week
$82 adults, $74 senior, $65 child
Hike from Becher’s Bay into the interior of Santa Rosa Island 2 to 5 miles (moderate)
Cruise into the Painted Cave (ocean and weather permitting and captain’s discretion)
Cruise the western Santa Barbara channel and the north shore of Santa Cruz Island.
Ocean and weather permitting, view the Painted Cave

Campers have the option to camp on all the islands to which Island Packers is scheduled to run, and they also offer some inter-island camper shuttles to one or more islands while camping. Check their website for schedules and dates.

Advance reservations are advisable by calling 805-642-1393 or on their website at www.islandpackers.com. Also available in the Ventura location are souvenirs, books, T-shirts and sweatshirts that make a nice addition to a gift certificate.

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