The waters around Marina del Rey teem with seasonal gamefish. Beneath the ocean's surface, halibut, sand bass, and barracuda swim from Rocky Point to the Big Kelp Reef. That is, until they cross paths with The Betty-O, Spitfire, or the New Del Mar—the fishing boats of Marina Del Rey Sportfishing's fleet. Aboard these vessels, experienced guides help small and large groups cast lines and pull prize catches from the water.
But sometimes, the ocean's beauty makes anglers put down their fishing poles. Sea lions, dolphins, sea birds, and several whale species also make their home in the water. This diversity of wildlife prompted the owners of Marina Del Rey Sportfishing to start their whale and eco tour, during which sightseers can admire the ocean's majestic creatures and the teams of Aquamen who groom them.
Custom Scuba’s two boats aren’t typical leisure vessels—they’re inflatable boats, originally designed for Navy SEALS. And like Navy SEALS, the company’s captains use the boats to reach hidden channels and hard-to-access waterways. However, unlike Navy SEALS, their top priority is fun. With more than 10 years of experience each, the two captains helm snorkeling adventures, fishing trips, and sunset cruises that showcase the area’s natural beauty at sites often not visited by other companies. True to its company name, the team also offers scuba classes, teaching basic underwater skills and doling out dive certifications with a teaching motto of never rushing a student and always putting safety first and cannonball competitions last.
Miles into the Pacific Ocean, Harbor Breeze Cruises' captain tells a story. He speaks of a whale making the journey from the Bering Sea in Alaska to Scammon's Lagoon in Baja California, Mexico, right when—as if on cue—a whale breaks the water's surface. Its blowhole fires a plume of water into the air as sightseers, spread across two decks, feast upon views of the majestic creature and their camera shutters snap furiously to capture the moment.
Up to 80-feet-long, Harbor Breeze's double-decker vessels, like the Triumphant and the Christopher, allow groups of up to 150 strong to visit the habitats of a diverse group of marine wildlife with unimpaired views from stadium seating; tours often spy whales, dolphins as they leap into the air, and harbor seals as they sign traffic signals to passing boats. Aquarium of the Pacific partners with Harbor Breeze to photo ID marine wildlife and conduct research on tours. Aside from tours, Harbor Breeze Cruises also charters boats for weddings and memorials.
A loss of speech is common in the presence of the evening sky's colorful time lapse, though the silence won't last long with the boatload of socialites aboard. Mingle with undiscovered singles or spend some quality time with an established first mate. On a calm evening, careful ears can even catch notes echoing along the waves emanating from coastal music venues. The journey follows the Newport Beach in the elusive illumination of the setting sun. Those who are somehow immune to the spell of the ocean's calming charm can blissfully escape and feast upon the complimentary nirvana of chips and salsa.
Their recent exclusion from the Winter Olympics in Vancouver has only motivated the Pacific's whales to appear even more dazzling and majestic. Today’s Groupon gets you front-row, non-Olympic coverage of these magnificent mammal-fish with a 2.5-hour whale tour through Davey's Locker Whale Watching for $19 (a $38 value). Your tour will also include binoculars. Cruises are available three times a day on weekends year-round, and on weekdays May through August (tours available twice a day on weekdays September through April). View the schedule online for specific dates and times.
With more than two decades in the industry, FCI Aviation jets passengers into the heavens above the Malibu coast and Southern California's rippling hills and valleys. The company appeals to varying interests with an assortment of different tours, including wine tastings in the sky, whale watching, and shark pursuits that track great whites and mako sharks.
At Blue Pacific Boating, professional skippers boldly lead novice sailors across choppy waters in pursuit of sailing expertise. The two-hour introductory lesson, which is held aboard one of Blue Pacific’s new, midsize yachts, gives mildly salted sea dogs a hands-on introduction to the basics of sailing, including essential maneuvering techniques and the secret to keeping the wind out of your sails. Mounting the waves from the school’s Oxnard port, the captain and a crew of up to five will tour Channel Islands Beach, playing bumper boat with other vessels along the way and absorbing views of cavorting dolphins and roaring sea lions. Courses will be offered weekly, alternating between Sundays and Wednesdays.