Whales & Wildlife Viewing

Wildlife Viewing Cruises

Whale Watching and  Island Wildlife Cruises in the

Southern California waters of the Santa Barbara Channel.

All of these cruises do not land at the islands.

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Island Packers offers a variety of Wildlife and Whale Watching Cruises throughout the year.

Island Wildlife Cruise - Year Round

Winter Whale Watching   December 26 – Mid April

Summer Whale Watching May – September

Special Birding Trips

Over 28 species of whales and dolphins have been identified within the waters of the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary of southern California.

Throughout the year it is possible to see Gray Whales, Humpback Whales, Blue Whales and  Minke Whales, Orca Whales, Common Dolphin, Risso’s Dolphin, Bottlenose Dolphin, Pacific White Sided Dolphin and Dall’s Porpoise.

Common Dolphins just under the surface

Many of the large whale such as Fin, Humpback and Blue Whales are attracted to the local area during periods of up-welling that produce the plankton food they feed upon. Typically the ocean conditions that produce this feeding phenomenon occur between June and September.

On all of Island Packers’ trips to the Channel Islands we cruise with an eye out for wildlife, especially everyone’s favorites, whales and dolphins. There are two seasons each year where we specifically go out into the waters of California's Santa Barbara Channel and the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary to view the larger of the marine mammals, the Pacific Gray Whales (Winter)and Humpback and Blue Whales (Summer).

Photo by Michele Wassell - Breaching Humpback
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Photo by Kevin Bailey - Gray Whale Close Up
Humpback Whale breaches