Oxnard-Close Awe: Whale Season

Hop on a post-Christmas boat excursion and go in search of fabulous flukes.

FINDING THAT FLUKE: Just about everyone who has ever boarded a whale-watching excursion sticks to their own method for spotting a spouty blowhole in the distance. True, passengers on these day-tripping boats would be well-advised to keep an ear out for advice from the captain, who has typically helmed oodles of whale-exciting excursions. Still, though, from scanning a single spot on "the clock" of the boat (with the bow serving as the clock's "12") to watching just beneath the waves for changes in hue, every whale-ist seems to have their go-to technique for spotting the mammoths of the deep. But you can put more than one go-to whale-watching technique into service during a season, as whale-watching season around Oxnard stretches for nearly a third of the calendar year. Ready to try out a few ways to see a whale? Then pencil in...

THE DAY AFTER CHRISTMAS: As is tradition, Dec. 26 is the official opening of whale-cool excursioning in Oxnard, a town that's close to the migratory highway of those unforgettable visitors of wintertime, the Pacific Grays. "Every year, an estimated 20,000 to 25,000 Pacific Gray Whales migrate through the Santa Barbara Channel on their way to and from the warm lagoons of Baja California, Mexico." Secure a ticket on either an Island Packers Cruises boat or a Channel Islands Sportsfishing vessel and venture out to see these huge-of-fluke, spectacular-of-spout behemoths. The middle of April is when the season wraps up, so plan your Pacific playtime accordingly. Will you see a blowhole in action? Maybe two or three? It could be your technique for spotting a whale before your friends or family do is pretty darn solid. Best practice on an excursion from Oxnard, a prime place to begin your whale-loving day out on the marine-marvelous channel.

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