26 May 2011

Boat Ride to Santa Cruz Island

I recently got back from a weekend camping trip on Santa Cruz Island, which is part of the magnificent Channel Islands off of Central California. I went with the UCSB adventure program, which organizes outdoor wilderness trips in and around California and across the country. This program is a great way to get out and see nature while networking with people in the Santa Barbara area.

We met at Ventura Harbor at 7 am to catch a ferry out to the island. It was a 25 mile ride across the choppy channel waters, and took a little over 1 hour. Along the way we saw lots of birds and dolphins. At one point, a school of around 100 dolphins were surround the boat, jumping out of the water as we went. It was quite a miraculous sight to see all these creatures.

Channel Islands Nation Park (white perimeter line)

leaving Ventura harbor, with a quick detour to see some Dolphins

The Santa Barbara Channel is a unusual feature in California geography. The 30 mile wide channel separates the Northern Channel Islands from mainland California. As we left Ventura harbor, the first half of the channel was approximately 90 feet deep. About ten miles into the channel, however, the ocean floor drops off and water depth increases to around 1000 feet in about 1/4 mile! Lots of oil drilling takes place along this drop off, and it attracts ample sea life as well. In fact, right around this area was where we encountered our dolphin school!

Santa Cruz Island

Our Landing at Scorpion Cove

Scorpion Cove landing - the boat just noses up to the pier and one must
hop off quickly!

Just made camp - Nice view to wake up to in the morning!

The island has a huge fox population, and they are super cute and
not afraid of people!

The whole boat ride to the island

Download the KML file to play with in Google Earth!

View more photos of the trip!

1 comment:

  1. The island has breathtaking views. I love the pictures of the waves meeting the rocky coastline. You took some very nice photos. Cute foxes!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.