Ahhh the Channel Islands

Trip Start Apr 20, 2012
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Carpinteria State Beach
What I did
East Santa Cruz Island

Flag of United States  , California
Wednesday, April 25, 2012

We woke up to the pitter-patter of rain last night, but this morning at 6:30 a.m. Bret called Island Packers, the company that takes visitors to the Channel Islands, and they said all trips were still on schedule for takeoff!

So we left the campsite by 8:15 and arrived just in time for boarding.

When we arrived, we found that there were two school groups numbering about sixty kids heading to the Channel Islands. Also on the boat: actor Robert Knepper who played Theodore Bagwall, aka T-Bag on the TV series Prison Break.

We totally took his picture on the sly (see slideshow).

On our way over, the skies were clear and the water was like glass. We saw hundreds of dolphins surfing the waves that our catamaran made. The skipper announced that there were probably thousands all around us. Sometimes it seemed like there were at least 12 jumping in and out of the water at a time.

Once we arrived on East Santa Cruz Island, the biggest of the Channel Islands, we found that we only had to share the volunteer guide with one other couple from Germany. We took an interpretive hike with our guide, Catherine French, for like an hour and a half and listened as she described the history of the island and the people who used to live there. The waters all around the island were super smooth and we kept looking for whale.

After our guide left, Bret and I continued to Potato Harbor where we ate the sandwiches we had packed and enjoyed the view (see video).

Bret swears he saw a whale, but I couldn't tell if it was another dolphin or what. Let’s go with "Yeah! We saw a whale!"

After Potato Harbor, we hiked to the campground where campers have to hike in their gear – the hike is only about a 1/4 mile. We may try it someday, although we hear that Santa Rosa island is better for camping. Big drops of rain escorted us off the island as we took off just in time to stay dry.

The return trip was nothing like our morning cruise. Winds picked up and rain started to fall as we tried to outrun the approaching storm. Entertainment was provided by the relentless kiddos testing their ability to hold on to the rails on the 'wet side’ of the boat. Many parents will be doing laundry tonight.

Back at camp we moved two sites down for more protection from the trees and pre-packed the car in case the storm hit too hard. Packing in the rain is never fun. The night was low key with an Italian dinner consisting of canned ravioli and $2 wine…ahh, the good life. Caught up on some reading in the tent as the rain fell and wind blew in. The rangers were trying to scare us with storm path news, so we’ll see what tomorrow looks like.
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Chris on

Oh I love going to the channel islands and whale watching in Santa Barbara! So beautiful and a great adventure to do with friends and family! It's a bit cold as you probably know, but so worth it! Even if you aren't prone to sea sickness-you're bound to get a little weasy! I wish I was there now doing this-I hear they are having phenomenal weather. The Sandman Inn (www.thesandmaninn.com) calls my name! Their pools and affordableness makes things like whale watching and trips to the islands possible!

Stina on

Wine + tent+ Lizette= never again!!:)

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