Boat Trips Are Available All Along the Coast
Following are some of the companies offering whale-watching trips. Some require reservations. It is best to telephone before you go.
Skipper’s 22nd Street Landing--Two 150-passenger boats leave on whale-watch trips, narrated by trained volunteers from Cabrillo Marine Museum, at 9 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, also at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. weekdays. Weekend prices are $10 for adults, $7 for children and seniors. Weekdays, the rates drop to $9 for adults, $6 for children and seniors. Group rates are available. 141 West 22nd St. Information: (213) 832-8304.
Spirit Adventures, Ports O’ Call Village--The Spirit, an 85-foot sailing ship, sails twice a day on 2 1/2-hour whale-watch cruises from Berth W33; $12.50 for adults, $7.50 for children. Departure times are noon and 2:45 p.m. on weekends, 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. weekdays. Half-hour helicopter rides to look for whales can be arranged at $49 per person. Information: (213) 831-1073.
Los Angeles Harbor Cruises--Also setting out from Ports O’ Call village, the 102-passenger Liberty departs from Berth 77 for two-hour trips at 11:30 a.m. seven days a week, on weekends also at 2 p.m. Weekdays, pre-booked groups can also go whale-watching at 9 a.m. Prices are $12 for adults, $5 for children. The captain tells about whales and Los Angeles Harbor on the way out. Information: (213) 831-0996.
Los Angeles Harbor Sportfishing--100-passenger whale-watch boats depart for 2 1/2-hour trips from Berth 79 in Ports O’ Call Village on weekends at 9 a.m., 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. During the week, the boats depart at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Adult fare is $9; children under 12 pay $6. Information: (213) 547-9916.
American Cetacean Society--This organization will sponsor trips to Laguna San Ignacio and the Sea of Cortez in March. Information: (213) 548-6279.
Belmont Pier Sportfishing--The 150-passenger Billy V seeks out whales on three-hour trips leaving at 11 a.m. Friday to Sunday and at 10 a.m. Monday to Thursday. A volunteer from the Cabrillo Marine Museum serves as narrator. On weekends, adults pay $9, children $7; during the week, fares are $7 for adults, $5 for children 12 and under. The Belmont Pier is off East Ocean Boulevard at Termino Avenue. Information: (213) 434-6781.
Catalina Cruises--Several big ferryboats are taken off their regular runs to Catalina Island through April 2 every weekend and many weekdays; the schedule will vary later in the season, but through Jan. 10, departures are at 11 a.m. After Jan. 10, departures are at 9 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.; on days after that, they will vary. The three-hour cruise is narrated by a volunteer from the Cabrillo Marine Museum or the American Cetacean Society. Adult fare is $10; seniors over 55 and children 12-17 pay $9; children 5-11 pay $8; those under 5 ride for $1 each. Group rates are offered. The ferry has large, stable viewing platforms. Information: (213) 775-6111, (213) 514-3838 or (714) 527-7111.
Long Beach Sportfishing--Every day through April 3, 75- to 128-passenger boats set out on fully narrated whale-watch trips at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Adult fare is $9 each; children’s fare is $6.50. The group rate for 25 or more is $5 per person. A whale museum is open at the point of departure, Berth 55 off Pico Avenue (from Long Beach Freeway, take the Port of Long Beach exit and then the Pico Avenue exit). Information: (213) 432-8993.
Redondo Sport Fishing--On weekends, the Voyager and the Jocko sail out after whales at 9 and 9:30 a.m. and at 1 and 1:30 p.m.; during the week, they depart at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Weekend fares are $9 for adults, $6.50 for children; weekday fares are $6.50 per person. A volunteer from the Cabrillo Marine Museum narrates the trip. Whale checks are offered if whales aren’t sighted. 233 N. Harbor Drive. Information: (213) 372-3566 or (213) 772-2064.
Davey’s Locker--Starting today, a 120-passenger and a 149-passenger boat will sail for 2 1/2-hour rides from the Balboa Pavilion at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on weekdays, and at 9 and 10 a.m., noon, 1 and 2:30 p.m. weekends. Rides are narrated by a docent from the American Cetacean Society. Adult fare is $10; children ride for $6 each. Groups rates and whale checks are offered. Information: (714) 673-1434.
Catalina Passenger Service--Trips aboard the Catalina Holiday are Monday through Thursday at 10 a.m. at $10 for adults and $6 for children 12 and under. An American Cetacean Society docent narrates the journey. Group rates of $5 per person are offered to schools; for groups of 25 or more adults the fare is $8 each. A pre-trip lecture about whales is included. The Catalina Holiday is 115 feet long and has three levels. Whale checks are offered. Information: (714) 673-5245 or (714) 675-9881.
Newport Landing Sportfishing--Starting Jan. 9, the 70-foot Nautilus and two smaller powerboats leave at 9 a.m., noon and 3 p.m. on weekends, and at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Monday through Friday for 2 1/2-hour trips. Adult fare is $12, with children’s fare $6 and seniors paying $6 on weekdays, $12 on weekends. The journey is narrated by the boat operators. Whale checks are offered. Newport Landing is on Balboa Peninsula between Adams and Palm streets, near the Balboa ferry. Information: (714) 675-0550.
Dana Wharf Sportfishing--Boats leave at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m. every day to cruise outside the harbor. Adult fare is $9; children 12 and under pay $5; seniors 60 and over pay full adult fare on weekends but can ride for $5 on weekdays. Whale checks are offered. Skippers narrate the trip, but on Saturday mornings, beginning Jan. 9, special excursions will be coordinated through the nearby Orange County Marine Institute. On these trips, a marine biologist will give a half-hour lecture at the Institute, then accompany whale-watchers on a Dana Wharf boat. Fare is $10 for adults, $7 for children under 12. From Feb. 20 to March 5, the Institute will also host a whale festival offering many free educational activities on Saturdays and Sundays. Information: (714) 496-5794.
Cisco Sportfishing--In late January, four- to five-hour trips along the Santa Barbara Channel will be offered at about $15 per adult. Whale checks are offered. 4151 S. Victoria Ave. Times and exact prices will be set in a few weeks. Information: (800) 322-3474 or (805) 985-8511.
Island Packers--Starting today through March 31, half-day trips are offered Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 9:30 a.m. and 2 p.m., sometimes more frequently. The half-day whale-watch cruises go into the Santa Barbara Channel as far as the Channel Islands. The cruises are on 55- to 65-foot boats. The fare is $16 for adults, $14 for seniors 60 or older and $9.50 for children 12 and under. An all-day cruise to East Anacapa Island runs daily through Jan. 3 and then on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and weekends. The eight-hour trip includes about two hours on the island sightseeing for birds and seals. Cost is $28 for adults, $14 for children 12 and under. In addition, Island Packers offers an 8 a.m.-6 p.m. cruise to Santa Cruz Island Fridays through Sundays. The trip includes a naturalist-led walk to Scorpion Ranch, where visitors can picnic or barbecue meats they bring along. Cost is $38.50 for adults, $28.50 for children. The Island Packers pier is near the end of Spinnaker Drive in the Ventura Harbor. Reservations required: (805) 642-1393 or (805) 642-3370.
Sea Landing--From mid-February into early April, the 88-foot Condor will carry up to 125 people at a time on 2 1/2-hour trips Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 9 a.m., noon and 3 p.m. Adult prices are $15; children pay $8; group charters are available. In addition, the 37-foot catamaran Slingshot can carry six people on whale-watch trips. Prices for Slingshot trips have not yet been set. Information: (805) 963-3564.
Helgren’s Sportfishing--Several boats, ranging in size from 45 to 95 feet, set out on two-hour trips weekends at 9 and 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m., and weekdays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Tickets are $9 for adults; $7 for seniors and children 13-16 pay $7; children under 12 pay $5. All of the captains “have gone through whale-watch classes,” according to a Helgren’s spokesperson, and the trips are fully narrated. Information: (619) 722-2133.
Seaforth Sportfishing--9 and 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. two-hour weekend trips are offered; weekdays, sailing times are 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. The 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. weekend trips are narrated by a San Diego Natural History Museum naturalist. Other trips aboard the 75- to 95-foot boats are narrated by the captain. Adult prices are $9 each, while children 12 and under and seniors pay $6 each. Group rates are available; 1717 Quivera Road. Information: (619) 224-3383.
H&M; Landing--Three-hour cruises are offered daily at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m., at $10 for adults, $8 for those 13-17, and $6 for children 12 and under. In addition, an eight-hour cruise is offered from January through March, Thursdays through Sundays, beginning at 9 a.m., for $28 for adults, $22 for juniors and $18 for children. Whale-watch trips lasting from 7 to 11 days also venture down the coast of Baja and into the lagoons. Prices for these trips start at $890 per person. Municipal Pier at Emerson and Scott streets. Information: (619) 222-1144.
Point Loma Sportfishing--Three-hour trips are offered seven days a week beginning at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. The trips, narrated by a crew member, cost $10 for adults; juniors 12-18 pay $8; children 12 and under pay $6. Municipal Pier. Information: (619) 223-1627.
Invader Cruises--A two-masted schooner named Invader sets sail at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. daily and ventures three to five miles off the coast. Videotapes of whales are shown as the boat gets under way. Adult fare is $17.50 on weekends and $15 weekdays; children and seniors pay $10 every day; 1066 N. Harbor Drive. Information: (619) 234-8687.
Fisherman’s Landing--The Avanti, a 70-foot sportfishing boat that carries up to 114 passengers sets out at 9 a.m., noon and 2:30 p.m. weekends and 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. weekdays on 2 1/2-hour trips. Adults pay $10; those 13-17 and seniors pay $9; children 12 and under pay $8. The trip is narrated by a naturalist, and whale checks are offered. Seven- and nine-day “long-range ecology” trips to the Baja lagoons are also offered, starting at $110/day per person; 2838 Garrison St. Information: (619) 222-0391.
Islandia Sportfishing--An 85-foot boat departs on two-hour trips at 9 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. daily. Adult fare is $9; children under 12 and seniors over 62 pay $6 each. Whale checks are offered; 1551 W. Mission Bay Drive. Information: (619) 222-1164.
Baja Frontier Tours--Seven-day trips by land to Laguna San Ignacio begin at $885 per person, double occupancy; a nine-day trip is $1,185 per person double occupancy. Information: (619) 232-1600.
San Diego Harbor Excursions--The 103-passenger Pursuit sets off at 9 a.m. and 11:45 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. daily for 2 1/2-hour narrated trips. Adult fare is $13; seniors 55 and over pay $11; children up to age 11 pay $6.50. Whale checks are offered; 1050 N. Harbor Drive. Information: (619) 234-4111.