A boat zips along through the water, trailing behind it an open parachute elevated to almost a quarter-mile in the air. This isn't a scene from a spy movie, but rather a scenic parasailing tour from California Parasail, whose lines can lift patrons up to 1,200 feet above the crystal blue waters of the Pacific Ocean. As parasailers relax into their harnesses and take in breathtaking panoramic views, they can also take comfort in knowing they're in safe hands??all captains hold a US Coast Guard license and all crew members adhere to the practices of the Water Sports Industry Association. They operate runs throughout Avalon and Catalina Island, as well as Balboa Island, Newport Beach, and Long Beach, allowing patrons to glimpse views of different coastal areas and befriend cumulus clouds with varying regional dialects.
Harbor Breeze Cruises has run whale-watching cruises for over 15 years, regaling passengers with breathtaking views of marine animals. Aboard one of Harbor Breeze's vessels, passengers are educated on the characteristics of whales while looking out for gray and blue whales during their respective seasons. Other varieties of marine life commonly seen are fin, humpback, and minke whales, along with orcas and several species of dolphin. Customers aboard the ships, customers also enjoy lounge areas where they can enjoy a snack or drink, and expansive deck areas for viewing and photography.
Marina Sailing's USCG-certified skippers turn hydrophobic landlubbers of all skill levels and ages into seasoned seafarers with a litany of maritime courses. Hydro-curious adults can get a taste of the open seas aboard one of Marina Sailing's vessels for a two-hour introductory sailing excursion. The sail gives dry-behind-the-ears novices a chance to experience the feel of the waves and the worthiness of their sea legs before making a commitment to lengthy learning. Those already enthralled by the charming wit and firm handshake of the sea may opt for two basic-sailing weekend courses. In the first three-hour lesson, students learn the watery fundamentals, including boat safety, casting off, raising sail, sailing upwind, and more, and the second class covers more advanced techniques, such as single-handed sailing, close-quarters maneuvering, docking under sail, and beaming up William Shatner.
They're out there somewhere. White sea bass. Captain Allyn Watson hunts the elusive fish aboard The Dreamer, a 46? vessel that cruises the Pacific at speeds of up to 15 knots. He knows the waters well; after all, it?s that expert knowledge that helped him placed first in Hubbs Sea World Research Foundation's white sea bass competition for seven consecutive years. He's not alone this time, however. Today, Captain Watson?s accompanied by a faithful crew and a group of passengers, each armed with a fishing pole and a hunger for seaward adventure. As they drop anchor in the middle of calm waters, lines fly from all sides of the boat. It?s a bad afternoon to be a sea bass.
Allyn Watson is just one of the independent captains who works out of Pierpoint Landing. There, their eight boats occupy spots at the docks, ready to carry groups on fishing adventures that can last anywhere from a few hours to weeks at a time. Aboard the 75? Toronado, Captain Ray Lagmay and up to 49 passengers take overnight trips to catch barracuda, rockfish, and other targets. Meanwhile, the Southern Cal and its leaders, Captain Ryan and Captain Mitch, snag similar fish during shorter, half-day trips.
Tucked within the protected confines of its eponymous inlet, Alamitos Bay Sailing helps prospective sea dogs earn their legs. During in-depth lessons, students move from the basics of boat handling to the navigation and radio skills that allow them to make short trips on their own. Following these lessons, those whose thirst for sailing skills remains unsatiated can avail themselves of crew training on the school's 80-foot schooner Tiama, embarking on a three-day voyage that makes them eligible to crew on charters and tell nosy family members that they are married?to the sea. Those willing to join the Long Beach Sailing Club can also charter the fleet's newest acquisition, the 33-foot Tarten Ten Old School. The green-hulled vessel sports a diesel engine, five fresh bags of sails, and a cockpit to hold six sailors.
Instructors at Pacific Sailing's ASA-certified sailing school teach a variety of students the basics of navigating coastal waters and instruct students in specialized types of sailing or in the students' greatest areas of interest. Captains lead group and private lessons that cover basic keelboat sailing, basic coastal cruising, bareboat chartering, and coastal navigation?providing the skills necessary to unfurl and tie a sail or navigate using electronics, the light of the stars, and directions from a well-traveled seagull. The instructors conduct their lessons and lead skippered day sails, sunset sails, and overnight trips at the helm of Colgate, Hunter, Catalina, Irwin, and Beneteau sailboats.