Channel Islands Whale Watching Opens

The day after Christmas marks the big blowhole-y kick-off.

WHEN CHRISTMAS WRAPS UP... many people look forward to a day or two of rest, if they can take it. The hubbub has died down, and the go-go-go, and they don't have to worry over matters like having enough wrapping paper or tape or sugar cookies in the house. But Dec. 26 means something different under the waves of the Pacific, even if the ocean denizens don't exactly follow our calendar (plus, a lot of calendars would get soggy and unreadable underwater, we suppose). The day after Christmas is when whale watching season 'round Oxnard and the Santa Barbara Channel starts in happy earnest. Or, to quote a whale watch rep, who puts it far more colorfully... "Right after Santa departs, Whale Watching Season begins off the coast of Oxnard..."

IN SEARCH OF GIANTS: But then again, whales are known for timing. Nope, they don't always show when you want to see 'em, but they have been doing the migration thing for longer than we've kept paper calendars, so there's that. Possible giants to watch for may include humpbacks and blues, both of which have enjoyed "multiple sightings" over the last decade around the Santa Barbara Channel. Gray whales are creatures common to the area around wintertime, and fins and orcas have been seen off Los Angeles and other points (so keep a lookout for the orca's distinctive black-and-white marking). And even if an ocean giant isn't sighted, count on seeing other marine mammals and seabirds aplenty.

DAILY DEPARTURES... run through the end of April. Still have out-of-towners around through the New Year? Do they have whale watching back home? If not, consider this a fine, sea-breezy day out on the ocean. P.S. The weather could not be finer for the first week of Oxnard whale season, too. Hurrah all around.

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