Standing on the Downtown shoreline and gazing out to sea is a sure way to fire up your imagination. A Long Beach Glass Bottom Boat Eco-Tour will take up where that leaves off, giving you fresh vantage points from which you can study what’s offshore — above and below the ocean’s surface.  

This informative, entertaining, and relaxing tour runs five times a day, four or five days a week on the Sea View, a vessel equipped with six glass-bottomed viewing pods. The boat is piloted by boat owner and tour creator Captain Nilda Parrado Langston, who started her tour business after two decades of managing other businesses in the marine tourism sector. 

“I love the independence, meeting the people, and rising to the challenges a business like this presents,” said the Captain. 

Conditions were late-summer perfect when our reporter joined a diverse, good-sized crowd (boat capacity for tours is 48) for the Eco-Tour adventure. The destination was the Federal Breakwater, built in the early ’40s to shelter the influx of Navy ships into Long Beach Harbor and the Navy base.  

As the Sea View made its way to the breakwater, Capt. Nilda provided fun facts about the harbor and the wildlife ecosystem that exists within it. A crew member circulated, offering snacks, soft drinks, and beers. 

Above the viewing pods were signs that informed passengers about some local fish superstars they might encounter; Catalina Sea Bass, California Sheephead, Opaleye, and the dazzling, bright-orange Garibaldi.  

As the Sea View traveled near the breakwater’s opening, guests got a little taste of the power of the open sea. “We have 15 knots of wind creating some chop,” Capt. Nilda informed her passengers. “Notice that when we get back behind the breakwater, it will be completely calm.”  

Capt. Nilda piloted the boat closer to the breakwater as crew members passed out cups of specially-formulated fish food. Fish swarmed the Sea View as passengers tossed their food into the water, drawing oohs and ahs from guests peering into the viewing pods.  

“You never know what you’re going to see,” said Capt. Nilda, who has seen a huge assortment of fish as well as octopi, dolphins, and small sharks during her time navigating these waters.  

The Sea View headed back toward the coast, passing a couple of hulking oil tankers moored nearby. Soon, passengers heard the barking of an enthusiastic band of sea lions who were chilling on a huge buoy. Capt. Nilda circled back, making sure none of her passengers would miss this golden photo opportunity. 

“I invite people to have an open mind on these tours,” said Capt. Nilda. “I tell them that it’s more than what you see under the boat. It’s a way for you to see all the marine life in our harbor and the nuances of their environment. Despite the massive industry happening here, our harbor is actually improving as a host to marine life.”  

To get more details about Glass Bottom Boat Eco-Tours and to purchase tickets, click here.