The Channel Islands
So worth taking a day trip out to one of the islands to explore – hiking and water sports. There are four islands – San Miguel, Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz, and Anacapa. Santa Cruz Island is California’s largest island – approx. 24 miles long and up to 6 miles wide.
The Santa Cruz Island’s protection and perservation is overseen by the Nature Conservancy (the western 76% of the island) and the National Park Service (the eastern 24% of the island). The island has the greatest number of flora, fauna and animal species of all the Channel Islands. An interesting fact is that the Island Scrub Jay is only found on the Santa Cruz Island.
Santa Cruz Marker at the Visitors Center (Photo by RSheridan)
Santa Cruz Island
We went through Island Packers to book a cruise to the island of Santa Cruz (the Scorpion Cove tour). We started boarding around 9:30 am and then had until about 4:15 pm to reboard and get back to IP in Ventura. The Santa Barbara Channel is beautiful, especially in the afternoon. Our captain was amazing navigating through the channel – a little choppy at times – I think he enjoyed spraying everyone on the way back.
Island Packers Cruise Boat (Photo by RSheridan)
Our cruise was the 1st to see bottlenose dolphins this summer – how cool is that! There was a pod of about 30 and some of the mamas had babies – these dolphins were so fluid and acrobatic in the water – just amazing to see the wild in their natural habit!
Bottlenose Dolphins (Photo by RSheridan)
Sea Lions (Photo by RSheridan)
Once on the island we decided to hike up to Cavern Point (2 miles roundtrip & moderate) and Potato Harbor (4 miles roundtrip & moderate) – breathtaking views. You will want to dress in layers, have a hat and sunscreen. After hiking we had about an hour left before reboarding and wished we packed the suits and water shoes – oh well maybe next time.
We had a Nature Guide on our cruise and accompanied our group once on the island. She stated that the Island Fox Recovery is under way and there is currently over 700 foxes on the island whereas back in 2000 there were 70 foxes on the island. Unfortunately we did not see any foxes, but we were there during the hottest part of the day. We heard some sea lions barking off in the distance on our hike. There were multiple sailboats around the island too – pretty neat to see the white of the sailboat against the blue of the ocean.
View from Cavern Point (Photo by RSheridan)
Sailboat (Photo by RSheridan)
Some Additional Photos – Enjoy!
Scorpion Beach (Photo by RSheridan)
The Beautiful Pacific Ocean (Photo by RSheridan)