California Channel Islands for the holidays

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by Peter-CKM, Jan 5, 2016.

  1. Peter-CKM

    Peter-CKM Paddler

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2011
    Messages:
    550
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    A few months back, a friend asked for info and partners to go out to the Channel Island (off of Santa Barbara). Sounded like fun, so my girlfriend and I signed up.

    It would be the first time there for all of 6 of us that signed on. At that point we had planned to paddle out and back (15 mile crossing, plus some handrailing along coast to get to launch/landing), rather than take the ferry. As info came in, we changed our plans to taking the Island Packers ferry out and back, and given the weather we had (a few very windy days), that was the right choice. This decision also let us take shorter, more rock-play friendly boats (4 Delphins, 1 Gemini, and my Alchemy).

    When we arrived at the island, we saw our first Channel Islands fox (a small breed of foxes only found on the islands - about the size of a cat) on the way to the campsite. Took lots of pictures of it. By the end of the trip we were bored of the foxes and found them more annoying than cute (especially after having a loaf of bread stolen right off the table as we were sitting there).

    Full day 1 (12/27) was paddling west from our base at Scorpion Cove on Santa Cruz Island to Chinese Harbor and back (~10 miles). Good fun and lots of caves. Second day was east to Smugglers and back (also about 10 miles). More playing, but by lunch there was a huge wind coming down out of the canyon at Smugglers that made it hard to paddle to the beach. Easy ride with the tailwind back to the point from the beach, but then the headwind again (now with 3’ wind waves) back to Scorpion. Barely made headway at the worst gusts. Day 3 was a hike to the peak, as on-water conditions were pretty poor due to winds. Day 4 was an early start (7:30 on the water) paddle to Frenchy’s Cove on West Anacapa Island and back (a 20 mile paddle) – we picked the perfect day as we only had a light headwind at the start and calm conditions for the return. Day 5 was a hike to Smugglers (and concern whether we would get out, as Island Packers canceled the morning ferry due to the strong NE winds and the chop it creates at Scorpion – too much for the skiffs to land). Day 6 (our return date) started very windy and choppy at the beach, so ferry was canceled for morning, but after lunch it calmed down and the water was almost flat, so an afternoon ferry came over and we made it home as planned.

    Here is a Facebook link to some photos I put online:
    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10153407941743247.1073741837.523908246&type=1&l=5e4f2af3be

    Pictures from another guy on the trip: https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B8e1pYEnZfoOaXpPTmJrdnpBNkk&usp=sharing (I am in the green boat).

    And a video from the same guy of an encounter on our crossing back from Anacapa:
    [shortyoutube]http://youtu.be/dPBgF42cNkQ[/shortyoutube]

    Great place and a good trip (though 6 nights is a little long for being based in one campsite). I do want to make the crossing at some point.
     
  2. dvfrggr

    dvfrggr Paddler

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2005
    Messages:
    400
    Location:
    Seattle,Wa
    Great post! love the screams :)
     
  3. Peter-CKM

    Peter-CKM Paddler

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2011
    Messages:
    550
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    She is known for screaming when kayaking
     
  4. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

    Joined:
    May 31, 2005
    Messages:
    5,658
    Location:
    Astoria, Oregon, USA
    Spectacular! What a lucky encounter.