Memories of World War II, the Korean War, and the Cold War are imbedded in the steel hull of the Battleship USS IOWA. The ship served the US Navy for 70 years of active and reserve duty before coming to rest at her current berth in San Pedro. Originally laid down in 1940, the IOWA was the most advanced battleship of the time, capable of traveling more than 40 mph, firing her 16-inch big guns 25 miles, and housing more than 1,400 sailors in specialized compartments. Now a floating museum honoring the battleship's place in 20th-century naval combat, the vessel welcomes visitors to explore her decks, strolling about the wood-covered main level or venturing into the interior. The restored ship lays seven decks open to visitors, from the hull-enclosed mess to the lofty bridge, allowing them to get an up-close look at the missile deck and imagine what it would have been like to be a sailor in the Pacific in 1944.
Scenic boat rides to and from Catalina Island pass by stunning vistas of Long Beach Harbor and gamboling dolphin families—but the boat trips' main attraction is the island itself. The clear waves that lap at its shores are ideal for kayaking, scuba diving, or doing an emergency load of laundry. Meanwhile, mainland attractions range from art galleries and shops to winding hiking trails. Armed with a round trip boat ticket, visitors from four mainland California ports can explore the island for anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks.
First String Sportfishing sails the open seas off of Southern California, taking passengers on both fishing voyages and educational marine tours. Its largest boat, First String, can hold up to 149 people for its whale-watching tours. On board the 93-foot boat, you’ll find two 9-ton fish holds, two radars, a large-screen television, and a dolphin-to-English dictionary. First String Sportfishing’s other boats depart for both Californian and Mexican waters on fishing excursions. These trips typically yield shallow-water rockfish such as Sculpin and Whitefish and larger varieties including yellowtail and barracuda.
Although he climbed the corporate ladder at a sprinter's pace in his young life, Kirk Robinson understood the only place he belonged was out on the ocean. He was known to his coworkers as a superior business mind⎯that is, when they actually managed to find him at his desk and not at the beach windsurfing. So, after reading The Road Less Traveled and Do What You Love, the Money Will Follow, Kirk found the inspiration to start Captain Kirk's Inc. in 1992. He then quickly gathered a team that also possessed his passion for watersports, including his kiteboarding wife, Kitty, and set up shop.
Today he and his crew show others how to get the most out of the ocean through kiteboarding, windsurfing, and standup paddleboarding lessons. Additionally, Captain Kirk's retail includes all the supplies needed to master those three activities. Completing the trifecta, Kirk also owns CK's Beach Resort in La Ventana, where guests can bask in the beauty of aqua waters, a private beach, and luxurious lodging while experiencing everything from kiteboarding and standup paddleboarding to windsurfing, sportfishing, and scuba.
The Coast Guard?approved Odyssey treats up to 42 seafarers to three levels of indoor and outdoor seating. Carefully controlled with hydraulic stabilizers and piloted by a certified crew, the 58-foot-long yacht glides through the salty sea air in pursuit of frolicking dolphins or sets off into the sunset. Buffet tables and ice chests help make harbor cruises ideal for parties or company events, whereas fishing excursions facilitate sporty bonding. A big screen TV is on board, along with a full stereo system with karaoke capabilities that blasts tunes, and guests may bring their own MP3 players, food, alcohol, and freshly caught sea-bass pi?atas.