Raise your hand if you know next to nothing about the Channel Islands? Me, too. And up until my most recent National Park visit (if you’re keeping tracking, this is stop #3) of the Channel Islands last weekend, I had little to no knowledge of this majestic wonderland. There are eight separate islands, but we only had time to visit two of them: Anacapa and Santa Cruz.
The first island we visited was Anacapa. We boarded a boat out of Oxnard, California with Island Packers at 9:00 am. It took us about a half hour longer than it was supposed to because we kept seeing whales and dolphins and, of course, had to stop.
It had been foggy the whole ride over on the boat and for the first two hours that we roamed the island. When we finally pulled up, the first thing I noticed was the seagulls. Seagulls EVERYWHERE. There’s no freshwater on the island and for whatever reason these seagulls just absolutely love Anacapa and are basically the only life on the whole island. They were so fun to photograph and had no aversion to humans. They ignored us most of the time, but, man, were they up close and personal when we were snacking on our lunch. I could’ve watched them for hours. But just after 1:00 p.m., the fog finally lifted to give us more of a view of the rest of the “banana” shaped island.
I could’ve stayed there all day with the sun out and the birds flying all around me, but, alas, the boat arrived at 3:00 p.m. to take us back.
The following day, we left out of the Ventura harbor. Thank GOODNESS I had taken plenty of Dramamine because it was the roughest boat ride I’ve ever endured. And if you’ve ever been on a boat or kayak with me, you know how terribly sick I get if I forget to take it, Unlike the start of the previous day, it was warm and sunny for the get-go. Thankfully, we packed the sunblock (SPF 100 for my ginger self). It was going to be a hot one. We had a solid seven hours to explore, so we had a packed lunch and lots of water. The first thing I noticed was the similarity to landscape found in Northern California, so I felt right at home.
We chose the longer of the hikes since we had pretty much all day. Not far into hike, we started seeing a sprinkling of caterpillars right on the trail. A few hundred yards of that, though, drastically morphed into a solid mile of THOUSANDS of caterpillars. So much so that we had to focus so hard on the ground to watch every single step we took to avoid stepping on them. I’ve never seen anything like it.
For lunch, we made a pit stop down at a gorgeous sandy beach to take a little break from the sun and sit under the Eucalyptus. After about a 2 hour lunch break, we headed for the boat since we had quite a bit of a hike left. All in all, I think we did a 9 mile hike – lots of hills and sunshine.
Fun Fact: The Island Fox is found on the Santa Cruz Island (and a few of the other Channel Islands) and they exist nowhere else in the entire world. Another tourist asked one of the National Park Naturalists if we’d be likely see one of them. She chuckled and told us the only way we wouldn’t see them was if he kept our eyes closed. Sure enough, we rounded the corner and one (of many seen throughout the day) was right there. They were so precious. Very petite and quite clever little creatures.