Friday, August 22, 2008

Channel Islands - Santa Cruz - Scorpion Bay

On Tuesday my buddy Jeff and I went to Santa Cruz Island ( part of the Channel Islands off the coast of Ventura) to camp, kayak, free dive, and hike.  We took a boat through Island Packers Company over to the island (about an hour away).  In order to camp I had to reserve a campsite (no first come first serve) through the national park system.  

So on  our way over we saw about 100 common dolphins jumping and playing in the wake of our boat.  This was incredible, dolphins jumping and playing all around the boat.  This was just one more added bonus to the camping trip.

When we got to the island we unloaded our gear and kayaks (they transport personal kayaks for 14 bucks) and headed to our campground.  I reserved site #11 which is a little more removed from the rest of the campsites, sites 2 and 14 are also good sites to have.  It was only about a 10 minute walk to our campsite where we set up our tent and then went back to the bay to go kayaking.  Jeff and I put our snorkel and fins in our kayaks and headed north around the bay, going in and out of caves.  These caves were amazing, and the swell was mellow which allowed us easy access through them.  After about an hour of kayaking we found a remote place to beach our kayaks and go snorkeling.  We snorkeled for about 40 minutes.  The visibility was 15-2o feet.  We saw an array of sea life, pink abalone, Garibaldi, starfish, sea slugs, bat rays, lobster, an assortment of fish, anemones, corral, a small shark (type...I forget) and my favorite a friendly seal.  The seal hung out with us just about the whole time we were diving.  They are very playful creatures, the seal swam above, below and to the side of us.  The seal got within 2 feet from my face and started to play with my fins.  After we were done diving we had to say good bye to  the seal and kayaked back to Scorpion Bay.

When we got back to our campground we traded in our kayaks for our hiking shoes and took a hike up to Potato Cove and Cavern Point.  This hike followed the cliffs of the island making for great pacific views.  Upon returning to our campsite we made dinner and had a few tasty beverages (Steel Reserve......thanks Jeff! :-).  Once the sun went down we headed back to the bay and checked out the moon.  I have never seen the moon rise over the ocean like this.  Looking east towards Los Angeles an orange glow appeared.  A few minutes later a bright orange(almost full) moon started to rise.  It was awesome!

The next morning we slowly woke up and put on our somewhat dry wetsuits and kayaked down the southern edge of the island.  After and hour or so we headed back and kayaked back north of the bay.  We went to a different cove that didn't have a good place to beach our kayaks so we tied them to some kelp and dove off our kayaks.  Personally, I enjoyed diving and kayaking north of the bay rather than the southern edge.   That morning our friend the seal was not around but it was still great to go diving.  After about 3 hours of being out we returned to our campsite and rested and waited for the boat to pick us up around 4.   We were pretty beat from the kayaking and diving and didn't have much energy to do anything more than chill.  On our way back on the boat we saw more dolphins jumping and playing next to the boat, which is always nice.  

All and all it was an awesome trip!  My buddy Anneke who suggested this trip was right.  This was definitely a great get away that is affordable and doable in a weekend.  Camping is 15 dollars a night and the boat transportation is 64 dollars plus 14 for a kayak.  Note, if you want to bring a kayak you need to reserve a kayak spot on the boat.  Island Packers can only reserve about 14 each trip.  So don't make your camping reservation before your boat reservation.  Go online check the availability of campsites, then call Island Packers reserve tickets and then reserve a campsite. 

Camping Reservations:  Scorpion Bay - Santa Cruz
Island Packers: Boat Transportation

Note:  It is super chill camping, nice bathrooms and clean drinkable water.  
If camping isn't you idea of fun you can take a boat over to the islands in the morning and return in the late afternoon.

1 comment:

Holly said...

That looks like SO much fun! I'd actually consider doing that trip! Thanks for the links to the boat and campground.