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“Needs work” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Channel Islands Whale Watching

Channel Islands Whale Watching
4151 South Victoria Avenue, Oxnard, CA 93035
(805) 382-1612
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Ranked #4 of 15 activities in Oxnard
Type: Boat Tours
Attraction Details
La Crescenta, California
Senior Contributor
43 reviews 43 reviews
22 attraction reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
“Needs work”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 23, 2013

First of all, the boat is a fishing boat, not a touring boat, so there is limited seating (2 benches and a bulkhead) which is hard and has no back, no food or drinks were offered, despite my ticket saying a light lunch would be served. It was really cold and we had not brought jackets because it was a nice day, but out on the water the wind was freezing -- we huddled against each other for warmth. The boat was clean but sparse, as fishing boats are. The scenery was well worth the trip once we got to Anacapa Island. We saw about a hundred common dolphins which were so entertaining to watch, and thousands of birds nesting on the island and flying in formation. The narration was very good and the captain knowledgeable, but the first mate just sat in the cabin and never even asked anyone if they needed anything. The safety lecture was good and we felt very safe the whole trip. It was worth the discounted fare, but bring jackets and sweaters, even if you think it is warm, bring sunscreen, and your own food and drinks. If you don't want to stand up for 4 hours, get there early so you can grab a bench to sit on.

Visited May 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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28 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
1 review
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
“Don't take the bait”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed May 9, 2013

I knew to expect bait on this trip, but didn't think I'd be the one taking it! First the Groupon deal for the Seafari appeared to be a decent price, but by the advertisement, we were lead to believe it was a whale watch. The whale watch price was about the same without the Groupon deal, so I’m not sure what we really got. Chalk it up to tourist naivete but this was no where near what I expected. I've been on whale watches before and knew there is no guarantee you'll see whales. What I didn't expect was to be put on a different, smaller boat than in the video and have to stand for the entire 4 hours! I caught on half way through the trip, that for those hoping to see whales, you need to come between January and March. After that is when it becomes a “Seafari” I guess. I would have re-thought the whole thing, honestly if I’d have known.

I expected the 85 ft Ranger and instead was put on the Coral Sea, a 58 ft fishing boat. There was one small table below in the closet size galley, one storage compartment outside where 4 people could fit to sit on and that's it. We all had to stand otherwise.

It was clean I will say and the trip out was enjoyable. We saw dolphin and birds, and beautiful scenery right along side Anacapa island. Unfortunately the trip back was cold, rougher and seemed like an eternity. That’s not their fault, I get it. The "Seafarers Feast" was like a brown bagged lunch, tuna sandwich with potato salad and melon. If you could stand to eat it and still hold onto the railing, you'd be doing all right. What is their fault is, it’s really bad business to take reservations, then switch us to another boat. There was no seating or comfort for someone that takes a trip like this every few years. If you're an avid sea fisherman, you'd be right at home. This is a fishing company trying to call themselves a whale watching trip service and misses the mark. The Seafari and whale watches are two different things – Next time, I’ll check out the trips from Ventura or Santa Barbara instead. Channel Islands Whale Watching is a case of "bait" and "switch" and isn’t recommended by this occasional traveler.

Visited May 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 8, 2013

Our skipper lengthened our trip as we followed an orca pod for about an hour....amazing. We saw three types of whales, Californian seals, dolphins and the orcas. We were not dressed warmly enough; windproof hooded jackets and warm layers underneath for spring, winter and autumn I imagine.

Visited April 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pismo Beach, CA
Top Contributor
100 reviews 100 reviews
12 attraction reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
143 helpful votes 143 helpful votes
“Great Outing With Excellent Narration”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 28, 2013

First, the boat was sparkling clean. The Skipper was wonderful and gave a great narration. We saw a blue whale (these are rare), several humpbacks, and one was a mother and a baby that came right up to the boat while we were stopped. Plus, there were hundreds of dolphins that were jumping, doing back flips, and riding the bow wave. At one point there were 4 dolphins jumping behind a whale, and 3 jumping in front. That would have made a great painting that no one would have believed.

A great family outing.

Visited April 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Santa Barbara, California
1 review
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“Skip and Go with another company”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed April 11, 2013

Boats are tiny Fishing Boats not tailored to you and me out for a relaxing whale watching experience. The food is like a bagged lunch if you get their special "with a meal" via Groupon. Not enough seating or attention to detail. The service out of the Ventura Harbor has better boats, more fun and much nicer. And the groupon deal was actually no DEAL when I viewed their onboard brochure, same regular price.

Visited March 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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