Thursday, September 21, 2017

Sea Kayaking Around Santa Cruz Island

What an amazing paddling trip!

Dianne and I drove about 6 hours to Ventura, California. Early the next morning we took a one-hour ferry ride to Santa Cruz Island for some sea kayaking!

The ferry ride itself would be pretty dull, but we were blessed with some company about halfway out. A pod of dolphins swum up to check us out and surf our boat wake! We also saw some seals and sea lions and the ever-present sea gulls.

Shortly after our arrival at Scorpion Beach we spotted a few of the Santa Cruz Island Foxes that abound here. They are dwarf foxes. Our guide says that their dwarfism is an evolutionary result from being genetically secluded on the island. It was nice to have a few minutes to relax and watch the foxes while my stomach settled down from that ferry ride!

Santa Cruz Island is known for three main things: the island foxes, kelp forests, and some very cool sea caves. We came to kayak through as many of these sea coves as the time and the tides would allow. Our guide led us to an through 6 or 8 of these amazing places on our three hour sea cave kayaking tour. The kayaks were all wide heavy SOT kayaks, well suited for the quickly changing conditions. This ain't flatwater kayaking, The waves were much larger than I have ever paddled in on Eufaula and the weather was you should expect to get wet.

I have some more fun pictures to share from the trip, but Dianne and I were in a tandem kayak so you won't see much of either of us. Additionally, the dark steaminess of these sea caves makes kayak photography even harder than usual! However, the experience of paddling through sea caves is a blast and many of them are truly beautiful inside! Other sea caves are dark and loud and steamy and the constantly changing water level can make you woozie! In any case, emerging from the darkness into the bright sunlight was always a bit thrilling!

This time I took two cameras and no lights in hindsight that was a poor choice. There was lots to photograph, once the sun came out. Santa Cruz Island even has their own Elephant Rock, just like on the Illinois River in Oklahoma...sort of. Here is a photo of it. See the elephant?

I highly recommend contacting Channel Islands Adventure Company and taking this trip if you ever get the chance.

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