New Boat Service to Channel Islands

Starting March 13, there will be a second boat service to Channel Islands National Park--this one leaving from Santa Barbara Harbor rather than Ventura Harbor, and using vessels than can sleep up to 40 people. Reservations are being taken now.

"These boats are effectively floating hotels," explained Joe Wysocki, program developer for Santa Barbara-based Truth Aquatics, which has run diving trips for 25 years and now has a five-year National Parks Service contract for the island trips. The company's three diesel-powered boats, 65 to 88 feet long, have sleeper compartments, toilets, running water and food service.

Initially, Truth Aquatics will operate two types of trips, on alternate weekends, to Santa Rosa and San Miguel islands. Later, it plans to add other islands and go more often, Wysocki said. Single-day trips cost $75 per adult; meals are extra. Two-day trips cost $252, including meals and evening programs. Diving, snorkeling, hiking and kayaking are expected to be available.

For reservations and details, call (805) 962-1127.

Island Packers Co. continues to operate boat trips to the islands from Ventura Harbor under contract with the parks service. Reservations: (805) 642-1393.

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