Channel Islands
SportFishing

Whale Watching from Above with Channel Islands Helicopters

by Frank Ursitti Whale Watch/SeaFari Tours

Channel Islands Whale Watching

What began as a casual conversation several days ago, ended with a day that I will remember for the rest of my life. I could go on for pages, and probably lose all of you who read these blogs, so I will try to do my best to keep it mildly interesting. Liz from Channel Islands Sportfishing Center asked me a few days ago if I was interested in taking a flight with Josh from Channel Islands Helicopters. I admit, I was apprehensive, yet have always wanted too…so I agreed…pending weather, schedules, etc (giving myself an out).

Channel Islands Helicopters Whale Watching

The day finally arrived.

The weather was great, the boat was out and I had cleared my desk. I had no excuse. Scheduled to fly were Liz, myself and Larry from The Final Code…our website creator. I had told my dad the day before over breakfast, just probing to see if he would be interested…and of course he was…but the helicopter only seats 3. I asked him to take our pics as we lifted off, and he agreed arriving at the airport 15 minutes prior too.
As fate would have it, Larry decided to give up his seat for my dad and my dad was on!

Channel Islands Helicopters Whale Watching

Liz and I sat in the back and the old man armed with his Nikon was up front with Josh. Liz is a seasoned veteran, and between her and Josh were kind of feeding on my apprehension. We lifted off, and well, all I can say is just incredible. If you have never done this before, I highly recommend it.
While I am no stranger to flight, and having spent 35 years on the water around the Channel Islands, this was a totally new experience.
Seeing the Islands from the air puts it all in perspective.

Anacapa Island Channel Islands Whale Watching

On our way across the channel we observed pod after pod of common dolphin and then, there it was…the grand prize…a Blue Whale.

Blue Whale Channel islands Whale Watching

I have observed these magnificent animals for years at sea level, but to observe from above was indescribable.

Blue Whale Channel islands Whale Watching

The animal was beautiful, simply flawless. Hydrodynamic by evolution, designed to move through the water with the least bit of drag. The sight of the largest animal on our planet moving effortlessly below us was just humbling.

Blue Whale Channel islands Whale Watching

Blue Whale Channel islands Whale Watching

Blue Whale Channel islands Whale Watching
We then left our Blue as it headed for the depths and toured both the rugged North Shore of Anacapa as well as the dramatic South Shore. To see the Island from the air after having circumnavigated it countless times throughout the past decades adds total new perspective.

Ranger 85 Channel Islands Whale Watching

We were able to fly by the Ranger 85 as they were observing the same Blue Whale. Edward of course was onboard and captured amazing images of our Blue as it rose to the surface time and time again. He managed to get a few images of us in the air as well. Thank you Ed…these are forever.

Ranger 85 Channel Islands Whale Watching

Many thanks to the team of Channel Islands Helicopters. Josh, you run a first class operation…I look forward to flying with you again.
Liz…thank you so much for planting the seed. I always marvel with your stories from past flights, but now I know. Thank you so much.
Larry, you missed a great flight. Thank you however, as it afforded me a lifetime memory with my father.

Pop, I’m so glad we had this opportunity. I’m sure it brought back memories. (My father loves to fly…he has a long history dating back to his early days in the Navy…he’s 82 now).

See you all back on the water,
Frank - Channel Islands Whale Watching