Sunday, December 26, 2010

Boat Trip to Santa Cruz Island, Channel Islands NP

The main reason why we decided to meet with Manja, Bartek and Kubus in Santa Barbara, was to visit Channel Islands NP. During the winter season only two islands that are closest to the coast (Anacapa and Santa Cruz) can be visited. We decided to go to Santa Cruz, which is the bigger of the two (and also the largest of all Channel Islands).

Boats for Santa Cruz island leave from Ventura Harbor and take around one hour to get to Scorpion Anchorage, located in the eastern part of the island. (It takes another twenty minutes to get to Prisoners Harbor, located in the middle of the island. Notice that boats for Anacapa leave from Oxnard Harbor.)

The Channel Islands and their encircling waters are home to over 2'000 plants and animals, 145 of which are endemic. We did not see too many of them on Santa Cruz island, but both on the way to the island and back to the shore, we saw numerous marine animals. Some of them are on the photos below.

On the way back to the shore we got lucky to encounter a bigger group of dolphins that was following our boat for a few minutes:

American boat, American flag:

On the boat:

If you are a sealion, any place is good to rest:

Both the Channel Islands and the coast near Santa Barbara are popular with pelicans:

Ventura Harbor: