Category Archives: Recreation and Outdoors

Casitas Rowing makes finals in 27th annual Long Beach Invitational

Photo by Wendy Gillett

Recently Casitas Rowing made finals with every squad at the 27th annual Long Beach Invitational. The race that brought in over 24 different rowing teams from 4 different states is a challenging three day event. The Casitas Rowing kids also medaled in 3 events including a Varsity Girls boat seen here with their bronze medals. The boat included Kaylie Dawson, Jackie O’connor, Rebecca Moya, Lisa Leap and Hannah Hassien. Summer Class signups are at

Whale watch season is now underway

Enjoy watching the gentle giants of the sea and dolphins too! Photo by Doug Mangum

Winter whale watching off the beautiful Central Coast of California runs from December to mid-April. An Island Packers whale watch is a perfect way to gather with family and friends to view the Pacific Gray Whales as they migrate through the Santa Barbara Channel on the way between their feeding grounds in Alaska and their breeding grounds in Baja.

Other possible sightings include humpback or fin whales, and occasionally Orcas, all of whom visit the productive waters of the Channel to feed on rich resources found in the majestic waters.

The Half Day Whale Watch Cruise provides stunning views of the Ventura coastline or the Channel Islands, wherever the whales may be sighted.

The Island Wildlife Cruise Half Day tours the north shore of Anacapa Island where visitors will see the historic lighthouse, view the highly photographed Arch Rock, enjoy a closer look at the California sea lion, spotted harbor seals and other wildlife.

Annual mammal sightings often seen also include minke whales, and sometimes the largest animal ever on the planet the majestic blue whale. Common dolphin populations often appear on the scene to delight passengers as they frolic with the boat, and ride the bow and stern waves.

Rates for half-day trips are $38 for adults, $34 for seniors and $28 for children age 3-12.  Children 2 and under are free.

“All year long, we invite visitors to come aboard our boats for an exciting and educational Nature Discovery Tour of the Channel Islands National Park,” stated Cherryl Connally, Office Manager at Island Packers.

Island Packers is the authorized concessionaire the Channel Islands National Park, family owned since 1968.  The main office is located at 1691 Spinnaker Drive in theVentura Harbor Village.  For more information visit the user-friendly website or to book online at or call 642-1393.

Women’s teams break state record in highest academic team achievement

CCCAA recently announced its academic awards for the 2015-16 year.

The Ventura College Pirates women’s cross country, track and field, and water polo teams are recipients of the spring 2017 California Community College Athletic Association “Scholar Team” awards.  The CCCAA recently announced its academic awards for the 2015-16 year, and Ventura College is home to three of the state winners.

The women’s cross country, track and field, and water polo teams earned the highest academic team achievement given annually by the CCCAA.  Ventura College is the 31st, 32nd and 33rd recipient of the award since 1997-98, a state record. At least one Pirate team has been honored in each of the past 17 academic years.

The women’s cross country team achieved an overall GPA of 3.40 for the fall 2015 semester. The team finished sixth in the Western State Conference championships and 13th in the SoCal Regionals, qualifying for the state championships for the fifth time in six years. The award is the program’s second as they were the State Scholar Team in 2006.

The Pirates’ women’s track and field posted an overall GPA of 3.37 for the spring 2016 semester. They finished a strong third in the Western State Conference championships and sent four athletes to the CCCAA state championships, placing 12th as a team – the program’s highest point total and finish since 1997.  It is Ventura College’s first state “Scholar Team” award in track and field.

The Ventura College women’s water polo team was 17-12 in the season in 2015, finishing in third place in the WSC tournament.  The honor is the program’s fifth award, having earned the state “Scholar Team” in 1999, 2008, 2009 and 2013.

All team members must have excelled academically with a total combined GPA of 3.0 or higher and have demonstrated better than average accomplishments in intercollegiate athletic competition.  The program began in the 1994-95 school year. All of the 2015-16 “Scholar Teams” will be honored at the Celebration of Scholar Athletes Luncheon, during the 20th Annual CCCAA Convention, Wednesday, March 29, 2017, at the Hilton Concord, Concord, CA.

“A special congratulations to each of these teams for achieving such a high honor and to Head coaches Mary Giles and Tony Veney and assistant coaches Tyson Butler, Tom Lawrence (retired) and Linda Wright,” said Ventura College President Greg Gillespie.  “We would also like to thank Scott Brewer and Becky Hull for their leadership as counselors for student athletes,” stated Ventura College Dean and Athletic Director Will Cowen, president, California Community College Athletic Directors Association.


BikeVentura is having a launch party

VCCOOL, a grassroots climate change organization is launching a new initiative, BikeVentura. A launch party is planned at the Bell Arts Factory, 432 N. Ventura Ave., on Saturday, March 4th from 7-10pm. Entertainment will be provided by The Salty Suites and there will be hors d’oeuvres provided by Scratch Ventura. There will be a cash bar with beer provided by Topa Topa Brewery. All proceeds benefit BikeVentura, a 501(3C) organization. The public is welcome, please RSVP for the event on The Ventura Bike HUB’s Facebook page.

BikeVentura is a political action and advocacy initiative, tasked with coordinating with city and county government throughout Ventura County to insure bicyclist safety, bicycle-centered active transportation and road use. Readers may be familiar with The Ventura Bike Hub, another VCCOOL program, that is closely aligned with BikeVentura. “BikeVentura was created to serve the needs of our community through education, empowerment and advocacy,” said Yvonne Adan, acting Executive Director. “Through our Bike HUB, our Kids Club program or our collaboration with local government, BikeVentura brings the community together and is helping to build better bicycle culture in Ventura,” said Heidi Buccola, VCCOOL Board Member.

Ventura surfing champion Mary Osborne to serve as Grand Marshal of St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Osborne was the first woman to ride China’s Qiantang River tidal bore.

Champion long boarder and professional surfer Mary Osborne will serve as Grand Marshal when the annual Ventura County St. Patrick’s Day Parade marches up Street for the 29th time in downtown Ventura on Saturday, March 11.

The theme of this year’s parade, which begins in front of Mission San Buenaventura at 10 a.m., is “The Sporting Life: The Games We Play.”

While best known for her athletic endeavors – in 2010 the Ventura resident became the first woman to ride China’s Qiantang River tidal bore, the largest and fastest bore in the world – Osborne also is a women’s sports advocate, environmentalist, writer, model, TV personality and businesswoman. She has been ambassador to the United Nations Environmental Safe Campaign, the 5 Gyres Institute, Project Save Our Surf, a Patagonia ambassador, and in 2015 was guest of honor at the Women’s Sports Foundation’s annual event.

The whole county will be turning out in green on Main Street. Last year’s parade drew over 90 entries, including floats sponsored by civic groups, nonprofits and local businesses and restaurants; marching bands; car clubs; horses; clowns and the Biggest Green Pig in the World. There also will be high school pep bands, youth groups and fun-loving adult groups entered in the parade.

In the spirit of this year’s parade theme, the organizing committee also encourages Ventura County teams from all sports and from every age group to join in the parade. That includes school teams, Little League and adult league baseball teams, football, softball, soccer and basketball teams. Individual sports enthusiasts such as skateboarders, golfers, bowlers and swimmers also are invited.

The Ventura County St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which ends at Laurel Street, is presented by the Ventura Elks Lodge #1430. The event’s committee is accepting entries for the parade. For entry forms or more information about the parade, visit, email Jim Monahan at  or call him at  643-4275 or email Nan Drake at

The 805 Bears prepare to gear up for spring season

Do you still have your old football shoes?

Super bowl 51 marks the end of the NFL season, but for the newest semi-pro football team in Ventura County, the 805 Bears, a new season is underway. On Feb. 25 when they will be hosting Yuca Valley’s Hi Desert Vipers.

The 805 Bears are the only spring season semi-pro football team in the area. They are comprised of 45 men and the coaching staff. Player’s ages ranging from 18 to 40+, the majority in their 20s and early 30s. The new team was created out of the Ventura’s Police Activities League team – the Ventura Hogs. When the Hogs’ final season ended in 2014, players missing the action started a team of their own.

“We’ve have a great mix of members this season. We’re excited to get out there and represent Ventura County,” says Michael Reardon, team owner and player. “We invite those interested to join an organization that’s fun, challenging and gives back to our community.”

Leading the team on and off the field will be Dr. Ron Atanay, who at 63 years old is the team’s head coach and running back. He is considered Pac-West Football League’s oldest active player. Dr. Atanay, a reputable dentist in the community, lost his brother a few years back and vowed to get healthy in his memory, choosing football as the sport of preference. Dr. Atanay has been heavily involved in the sports community with over 40 years of youth, high school and semi-pro football coaching.

“We are looking to partner with youth football programs in the area,” Reardon added, “After our season, we’re going to host our first 7v7 competition, where the money raised will go to a local youth team.”

The 805 Bears’ goal is to grow sponsorships to cover costs. They are accepting new players, 18 years of age and over, until March 4th. The games will be played at Pacific High at 501 College Dr., Ventura. For more information, visit

Winter league flag football

Ventura’s growing youth sports league called FuturePro Flag Football is back again. Players of all kinds, including beginner, intermediate and advanced, boys and girls from kindergarten to 8th grade are welcome to join us again in our Winter season.

If you are curious about the game of football, then flag football is a safe, exciting and fun introduction to help your child get acquainted. Learn how to run plays, play as a team and make new friends. FuturePro Flag Football rules are no-contact and is the safest way to play football.

Games will again be played every Sunday at Saint Bonaventure High School football field with the first game played on February 12th and ending on April 9. The cost to play is $125 and includes a jersey. Sibling discounts are available. Interested players, coaches and volunteers are encouraged to register and/or contact us online.

Learn more about FuturePro Flag Football online: or call for more information 302-9809.

Register now for Adult Winter Softball/Basketball Tournaments & Corporate Games

Register by December 2 for the second annual Winter Softball/ Basketball Tournaments to be held December 10 and 11 at local Ventura gyms. The tournaments are open to all teams and players who took part in City of Ventura Adult Sports Leagues for basketball and softball in 2016. Tournament divisions include:

  • Men’s Basketball – C, D & 6-foot-and-under Divisions
  • Men’s & Coed Softball – Novice & Rec Divisions

Get easy to fill and save Winter Tournament Team Rosters, rules and format information at or call 658-4743.

Early registration for Corporate Games continues as new and returning companies prepare for the 28th annual business-to-business team-sports competitions scheduled from March 25 to May 6, 2017. Companies of similar size choose from over 25 events to earn individual player medals and team trophies in such traditional sports as softball, basketball and volleyball and non-traditional contests for Speed Scrabble, Bocce and MB2 Kart Racing. Companies register in 5 divisions:

For more information, go to or call 658-4738 or e-mail


Casitas Crew-zers offer adult rowing workouts

stuff-rowingCasitas Rowing has started a new group of rowers because of popular demand! The Casitas Crew-zers will be offered Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8:30am allowing adults who cannot make the usual early morning workouts a chance to get out on amazing Lake Casitas in a sculling boat. This group has long been needed and requested in our community, perfect for retirees, night owls and moms who want a chance to work out after getting the kids off to school. Contact for more info.