Channel Islands Sea Kayaking
Channel Islands Travel Blog› entry 5 of 18 › view all entries
At 7AM, we headed for the kayak outfitter office, as recommended by the website. However, the kayak outfitter office guy turned out to be a kinda burnt out extreme sports hippie who was running on stoner time, so we had to wait around for a couple hours before he actually showed up.
The Channel Islands are pretty far, so we took the ferry over as part of the package. The ferry ride in itself is an experience, because before long you find yourself in the middle of dolphin territory.
They first appear in the distance, tiny dots jumping up and down all along the horizon. Before long, you realize that you're surrounded by schools of dolphins stretching far into the distance. They're right alongside the boat, taking turns jumping in and out of the water, keeping pace with the ferry.
If you go December to March, you can also spot for migrating gray whales on the ferry ride. There's also a chance to see endangered humpback and blue whales.
Soon enough, the barren cliffs of Anacapa Island came into view, rising into the sunless gray sky as we drew closer. We passed Arch Rock, the dramatic symbol of the Channel Islands, and pulled close to the shore to check out a big group of sea lions nestled into the rocks.
After the ferry pulled into a calm inlet, we met with our guide, Extreme Sports Dawn, unloaded the kayaks and got ready to go in the water. Before we did, Dawn made us get into water pants, helmets and life jackets. My water pants were about 9 sizes too big for me, and billowed out in every direction. I looked like developmentally disabled MC Hammer.
Paddling was awesome. The Channel Islands are made up of volcanic rock and limestone, carved by the salty ocean waves into jagged cliffs, intriguing structures and dark sea caves. Sometimes, the waves will pound deep into a sea cave causing a geyser-like fountain of water called a blow hole. Deep kelp forests rise up from the ocean floor, sometimes clouding the ocean water with their silky, slimy arms.
After a few hours of paddling, we got a little time to check out the island itself. It was a great time of year to go, as it was seagull hatching season. Like a scene straight out of Hitchcock, hundreds of gulls overtake the tiny island, littering the low, rocky meadows with nests. It's really cool, though a bit creepy, especially since the birds can be very aggresive when protecting their young.
Baby seagulls are so incredibly cute. They're dotted like leopards and look like little leopard-print fuzzballs in the grass.