Boat ride to Anacapa in the Channel Islands

Trip Start Jun 05, 2007
Trip End Jul 26, 2007

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Flag of United States  , California
Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Today was an excellent day!  I felt like I was tagging along with a National Geographic exploration.  At 8:30AM I arrived at the Ventura Harbor in California.  I grabbed a bite to eat at the dock and picked up a box lunch to go for the long day.  At 9:30AM I was off on a chartered boat with a handful of other tourists toward the island of Anacapa which is one of five protected islands in the Channel Islands National Park.

The boat ride was just under an hour and was very exciting.  First, it was quite a site to watch the California coast behind me as we sailed off.  The mountains looked so mystical with the gloomy haze hanging over them.  Before long we spotted some dolphins and the boat aimed toward a huge area of birds feeding which meant it would be a good place to spot more dolphins.  There were hundreds of them jumping and swimming by us and many came right up to the side of the boat.  It was a much better show than Sea World could have put on!

Finally, we reached Anacapa which is the first of the Channel Islands.  The captain sailed along one coast so we could see all the beauty of the island.  Anacapa is actually three small islands right next to one another, but you can not walk from one to the next.  Along the coast we saw various natural arches and sea caves.  The water was so clear here that we could easily see to the bottom of the water.

Only a dozen of us even got off the boat to explore.  It was a grueling climb (up stairs) to the top of the island.  From there a naturalist gave us a walking tour of the island.  It seemed so exclusive with so few being on this entire island and we would be the only people on it for this entire day.

Anacapa is famous for a nesting area for sea gulls.  There were thousands and thousands and thousands of gulls all around us and always protecting one to three of their little newborn babies.  According to the naturalist we were especially lucky to see something extremely rare as three of the babies started to rear up and attempt to use their wings for the very first time.  They didn't fly but kept testing them out.

We took a mile hike to the top end of East Anacapa to "Inspiration Point".  From there we had a magnificent view of Middle and West Anacapa.  Down below we even saw a large group of sea lions lounging, singing and occasionally swimming.  All along the hike our guide pointed out various plants that were exclusive to this island and could be found nowhere else in the world.

Afterwards I took a hike to the other end of East Anacapa to view the lighthouse (built in 1912 after the crash of the steamer "Winfield Scott".  The gulls were especially aggressive over here and I received numerous squawks and fly-bys.  This area also had the largest brown pelican rookery in the United States.

Every national park always offers guided tours/walks, but Anacapa had a very creative nature walk.  By the boarding platform for boats was a massive underwater kelp forest.  Scientists have been studying it for over 25 years.  We sat by the edge and watched on three television screens as three divers went down and broadcast back a live underwater nature walk through the kelp forest for us all to see.  The divers were equipped with microphones to talk to us about what they were showing us via the videa and they could hear us so we could ask questions about what we were seeing.  One of the divers even caught a small shark for us to view.

Around 3:30PM we boarded the returning boat.  The captain sailed around a bit more of the island nad we saw the famous "Arch Rock" which is a giant natural rock arch in the middle of the water.  On the trip back we spotted a different species of dolphin than the one we saw on the way out.

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