Scenes of learning and enjoyment spark infectious enthusiasm among Channel Islands Kayak Center's guides, who thrive on bringing adventurers up close to the wildlife of Channel Islands Harbor and Ventura Harbor. The team furnishes independent explorers with kayak rentals, which include safety briefings so kayakers can tell the difference between a sea lion and an actual lion.
Sea-curious land dwellers relax aboard the Wiley, a 36-foot Catalina yacht, while witnessing gorgeous scenery and watery wildlife of the Santa Barbara Channel and Ventura Coast of Southern California. Captain Dan, a licensed U.S. Coast Guard captain, will guide the schooner toward prime spots to witness whales frolicking and dolphins holding fraternity hazing rituals. Seafarers meet at Vintage Marina to board the aquatic vessel, and then set out from Channel Islands Harbor. Time your voyage to occur at sunset and observe the briny coastline as it floats by, swathed in the sediment-flattering hues of yellow, orange, and pink. Tour-goers can complement their adventure into the watery abyss by bringing snacks or drinks or by having the staff arrange catering. Buy two Groupons for a couple's cruise, or get up to four people together for an on-ship bridge tournament where the losers have to swim back to shore.
When Brian McInerney reflects on the humble beginnings of Wheel Fun Rentals, Inc., he points to his childhood passion for bikes. "As far back as I can remember, I had a real love affair with bicycles," he recalls. During a trip to Italy in 1987, Brian's affinity for cycling blossomed into a full-fledged obsession when he spotted locals' transporter of choice, the surrey. Inspired, he began importing the Italian four-wheelers to a rental business in the U.S. that eventually expanded into Wheel Fun Rentals, now a nationwide web of shops that also loans out bikes, electric cars and mopeds, and man-powered watercraft. Adventuresome athletes can also compete in activities such as surrey scavenger hunts and blindfold obstacle courses navigated via shouted instructions from a seeing teammate or exceptionally long rounds of trial and error.
Shuttled out to Anacapa Island on the 53-foot Sunfish, Blue Ocean Kayaking paddlers can explore the natural sea caves in open-top kayaks that are carted out for them. Led by knowledgeable guides, tours navigate the surrounding waterways, giving guests the chance to spot dolphins, whales, and a variety of sea birds. Groups are then picked up by the boat at the end of their tour instead of having to hike back to a take-off point or paddle across dry land. Excursions are suitable for all ages and experience levels, and equipment and training is included.
From dawn to dusk, Hopper Boat Rentals fleet of small, maneuverable crafts weave past the sailboats and houseboats docked in the tree-lined Channel Islands Harbor. Though the compact vessels are easy to master, Hopper Boat Rentals’ aquatic experts still happily help customers suit up in provided lifejackets and then impart a brief tutorial on operating their vessel of choice. They then rent out their watercraft by the hour, allowing customers the freedom to enjoy a quick jaunt or a daylong quest to overthrow surrounding sandcastle fiefdoms.
It's not all about adrenaline at 4Points Expeditions?although the group's backpacking, kayaking, and stand-up-paddleboard excursions are quite thrilling. The team of experienced adventurers here cares as much about safety as it does about the outdoors, which is why it keeps trained EMTs and Wilderness First Responders among its ranks. The team members share their knowledge of CPR and first aid during detailed classes, whose past students have included members of the National Park Service. When they're not doling out lifesaving tips, the guides are leading groups through California's most beautiful natural treasures in Ojai, Ventura and Malibu.