Whale & Wildlife Cruises

Common Dolphin Pod — November 2020 — Video by Lotti Keenan
Common Dolphins
Photo by Lotti Keenan
Pacific White-sided Dolphin
Photo by Michele Wassell

Seasonal Wildlife Trip Options

Whales & Wildlife You Could See

28 species of whales and dolphins have been identified within the waters of the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary of southern California. On whale and wildlife cruises it is possible to see Gray Whales, Humpback Whales, Blue Whales and  Minke Whales. As well as Orca Whales, Common Dolphin, Risso’s Dolphin, Bottlenose Dolphin, Pacific White Sided Dolphin and Dall’s Porpoise.

Humpback Whale Fluke
Photo by Doug Mangum

Two Whales Seasons

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. There we view the larger of the marine mammals, the Pacific Gray Whales (Winter) and Humpback and Blue Whales (Summer).

Common Dolphin Along Side
Photo by Dan Harding

Fin, Humpback and Blue Whales are attracted to the local area during periods of ocean up-welling. Up-welling produce the plankton food the whales feed upon. The ocean conditions that produce this feeding phenomenon usually occur between June and September.

Humpback Whale Breaching
Photo by Michele Wassell
Breaching Humpback

Breaching Humpback — Photo by Michele Wassell

A Pod of Common Dolphins near Santa Cruz Island

A pod of Common Dolphin near Santa Cruz Island – Photo by Ralph Custodio

Whale Fluke

Islander passengers enjoy a whale watch. – Photo by Doug Mangum

Humpback Whale pectoral fin with Anacapa Island in the background — Photo by Doug Mangum

Humpback Whale blow hole. — Photo by Michele Wassell

Mother & Baby Common dolphins — Photo by Lotti Keenan