February 13th, 2015 at 8:30 am

Channel Island Whale Watching

We humans love to watch whales. But did you know whales might be watching us as well? It’s a behavior called skyhopping. Occasionally, a whale will lift its head eight to 10 feet above the surface by thrusting its tail flukes, then rotating slowly for 30 seconds or more before slipping back under the waves. Oceanographers believe whales and dolphins can see reasonably well above water, so don’t be surprised if they seem to be checking you out on your next whale-watching excursion.

A great place to observe skyhopping, breaching, spouting, and other whale behaviors is the waters surrounding Channel Islands National Park. The marine mammals can be viewed year round, but the most common sightings are of gray whales now through April.

You can see the migratory parade from various places along the Ventura County coast, but a boat ride is the only way to get as close as federal law allows (100 yards). Types of vessels, dates, and prices vary, so call ahead or book online. Experienced operators include:

Island Packers
Marine Emporium Landing
3500 S. Harbor Blvd.
Oxnard, CA 93035

Channel Islands Sportfishing Center
4151 S. Victoria Ave.
Oxnard, CA 93035

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