Island Packers Cruises Invites Nature-Lovers To Venture Offshore On Special Trips Departing May Through October

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Popular Ventura transporter announces upcoming special excursions

including Cueva Valdez Cove, Pelagic Birding and Whale Watching 

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 Island Packer’s 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.  Special trips for 2014 include:


Blue & Humpback Whale Watching Cruise

Boats depart, May through mid-September on various dates, from Ventura Harbor for all day whale watching trips in the waters of the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary.  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, however, 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 departures – May through September.  Please visit the Island Packers Website for exact dates.


Cueva Valdez

Take advantage of the rare opportunity to visit Cueva Valdez, the beautiful cove on Nature Conservancy property on the west end of Santa Cruz Island.  The trip will begin with a narrated cruise, approximately one and 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.  The Island Packer naturalist will lead an exploration of the shoreline, explaining the geology, natural and human history of the area and will identify the large variety of plants.  Guests will have a couple of hours ashore before the trip back across the channel.  The course back to Ventura will cruise through some of the best marine wildlife viewing areas, so sightseers are encouraged to bring their cameras.


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, October 26

Pelagic Birding Excursions


Date:  Sunday July 13

Time:  7 a.m. departure and 7 p.m. return

Cost:   $ 195 per person


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 sightings.



Date:  Thursday, August 21 

Time: 8:00 a.m. departure and 5:00 p.m. return

Cost:  $125 per person


Cruise far offshore, approximately 55-60 miles, in search of 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 many more.


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 is recommended.   Advance reservations are encouraged and can be arranged online or by phone.


For schedules, directions, tickets and more information, visit, or call (805) 642-1393.Excursions prices range from $36 per adult for an island wildlife cruise (no landing); $59 up to $105 landing on one of the five of the Channel Islands for a day trip; Whale Watching trips are $36 per adult for the Gray whale watching, and $79 per adult for the Blue and Humpback whale watching.   Island Packers also offers various camping trips.



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