by Michael Tripp

Winter is typically the off season for beach communities, but we have some beautiful 70-degree days forecast for February, so come out to visit the Channel Islands Harbor.  It is a special place to be.

Whale Watching

One of the distinct adventures offered this time of the year is whale watching excursions with our businesses who offer tours. Between Island Packers, Channel Islands Whale Watching, and Channel Islands Expeditions, there are plenty of opportunities to book the trip of a lifetime.

Whale watching in our region is unique because our businesses have access to the waters surrounding Channel Islands National Park, which is home to many diverse and beautiful species of whales, dolphins, and porpoises. The season is already off to an extraordinary start. In January alone, Island Packers customers saw a combined 29 humpback whales, one blue whale, 169 gray whales, 77,161 common dolphins, and 965 bottlenose dolphins. Incredible! Sightings in February through mid-April generally improve.

Additional Life at Fisherman’s Wharf

While the Harbor has well established businesses and features great annual events, we are always seeking new tenants, programs to offer, and events to hold – especially at Fisherman’s Wharf. For many who have fond memories of Fisherman’s Wharf in its heyday, I’m sure this will be heartwarming news.

On the event front, we are happy to host the first ever Harbor Valentine’s Market, operated by the owners of Streets of Vintage in Oxnard. The market is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, February 12th at Fisherman’s Wharf. It will feature art, vintage clothing, candles, crafts, jewelry, crystals, and more. This will be a great open-air opportunity to spend time with your friends and family.

From a tenant perspective, I couldn’t be more pleased to welcome the Reel Guppy Outdoors Program to Fisherman’s Wharf. Reel Guppy will be opening a learning center at the wharf and will serve the community by providing a multi-media classroom learning space, family-centered fishing and conversation workshops and clinics, and youth leadership and business programs. There will be a ribbon cutting event, scheduled from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday, February 17th at the learning center, located at 2741 S. Victoria Ave., Suite D in Oxnard.

I could not mention Fisherman’s Wharf this month without praising the hard work of the Harbor Department’s maintenance staff, who replaced all the parking lot lights at Fisherman’s Wharf. The new lighting will be more energy efficient and much brighter, creating a safer space at night.

Casa Sirena Update

The Casa Sirena demolition process is progressing well. Demolition crews have been busy removing asbestos and other hazardous materials at the site. Starting mid-February, crews will begin to take down the structures at the site. I know many Harbor residents and visitors anticipated the buildings would come down immediately, but there are several steps that need to take place to ensure a safe demolition process. The entire demolition may take up to 6 months.

Tsunami Impacts

I am happy to report that the tsunami in mid-January had little to no impact at the Channel Islands Harbor. Design features at our Harbor – outside detached breakwater, the surge wall near Kiddie and Hobie beaches, and a dogleg design – helped us absorb the tsunami impacts. I would like to thank our Harbormaster and Harbor Patrol staff for being diligent in monitoring the tsunami and the safety of our harbor.

Michael Tripp, Director
Ventura County Harbor Department