Helmed by chief pilot Josh Jones, Channel Islands Helicopters soars over the sparkling Pacific during breathtaking tours around Channel Island National Park and Channel Island Marine Sanctuary. Guests load into a luxurious, bright-yellow steed of the sky, zipping out of Oxnard Airport and into the wide skyscape. Floating along a mountain-framed coastline, the sturdy chopper scrapes the clouds as guests peer into the waters below. Depending on the season, whales may frolic in the surf, carousing with sea lions or jubilant dolphin pods that leap out of the waters in hopes of catching a glimpse at the mythical creature known as the whirlybird. Clink glasses of champagne with a loved one or two friends to commemorate a magnificent midair adventure.
The Channel Islands Maritime Museum brings the area's rich seafaring history to life with original paintings, ship models, and intricately decorated scrimshaw. After 21 years in one spot, the museum relocated in 2012, hauling along its 2,000-strong catalogue of artifacts—including historic documents, records, and art—to its current location on Channel Islands Harbor.
Museum collections inside the new digs highlight periods and industries important to the development of the local maritime culture, reaching as far back as the Chinese Treasure Fleets that sailed the high seas in the 15th century. More modern attractions include the collection that explores whaling industry of the 18th an 19th centuries, the curious case of the La Jenelle, a ship that sunk right in the harbor in 1970 thanks to a nasty northwester.
Though little known to humans outside of Ventura, Hook's Landing's sailors are notoriously feared in the sea world. That's due in large part to their successful fishing charters, on which they bag hundreds of rockfish, dozens of whitefish, and multiple lobsters with a crew of tour-goers.The charter's guests can keep any legal-size lobster, crab, and fish they find in their professional-grade hoop nets. Hook's Landing snaps memorable shots of the day's catches and encourages guests to cook their catch, instead of nailing it to a board and trying to make it sing.
Professional, award-winning surfers and lifeguards comprise the team of instructors that equips students with gear and sends them paddling into the ocean. To ensure safety and capitalize on ideal waves, the seasoned athletes check ocean conditions and Poseidon's mood before taking groups or individuals out to sea. As beginners become proficient at catching waves, the instructors level up their curriculum and teach intermediate or advanced feats. Islands Surf Camp stays active in its community by donating time and gear to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, SURF, and Echo Malibu.
What do dancers at the Monte Carlo Ballet, the Royal Danish Ballet, and the Joffrey Ballet have in common? Besides the supernatural ability to walk on their toes, they got their start with The Ventura County Ballet Company. The school rigorously trains its students in Russian-style ballet, then shares the results with the community with full-scale, professional performances of classic works such as?The Nutcracker.
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.