We are leaving for 3 days. Tomorrow morning at 7am we will be on an Island Packers boat heading out of Ventura Harbor.
We are going to Santa Barbara Island. It is part of the Channel Islands National Park. S.B island is one of a chain of 5 that makes up the Channel Islands. Santa Barbara is one of the farthest ones away from the mainland, almost 60 miles straight out to sea.
The islands are often referred to as the Galapagos of North America. Even though it's close to the California mainland it is worlds apart. Although the park is within 60 miles of 18 million people, it is home to 175 miles of pristine undeveloped coastline.
Isolation over 1000's of years has created unique animals, plants and architectural resources found nowhere else on earth.
Is this too much like a social studies lesson? would you like to hear more? wish i could hear you nodding your head, up down, or side to side please stop now... well, i'll continue only because i love this place so much. you would too. It's really incredible, trust me.
So, a little bit of the history. The first European visitor to the Channel Islands was in 1542. His name was Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, a Portuguese explorer. Before he arrived these islands were home to the Chumash Indians. Santa Rosa Island is home to the remains of a 13,000 year old woman, they are the oldest dated human remains in North America. There are even pygmy mammoth fossils. And a petrified forest! And shipwrecks!
The island itself is made up of volcanic rock. And steep wave cut cliffs. Its the smallest of the islands, only 1 sq. mile. That's it.
Getting there takes around 3 hours of bouncing boat & barfing people. Getting on the island itself is treacherous. Remember i told you its all cliffs? so there is only one way on. The boat idles up to a looooooong rickety rusty metal ladder that is anchored to a rock cliff. You have to unload all your stuff, and make it snappy please or the captain of the boat gets grumpy. Then when its your turn to go you wait for the boat to surge towards the ladder, making sure you got a good grip, and up you go. It's fun. Really.
Why are we going here? well, because no one else does, for one. It's hard to be alone in the outdoors where we live, and its just incredibly beautiful. and this time, for work. My husband has an assignment for a magazine that wants several trails mapped out on gps and C.I. is on the list.
We will also bring kayaks, take photos, go bird watching, have a shag without having to hang the Do Not Disturb sign...!!
What will we see? are you still with me?? Ok! this will be the last lesson. Santa Barbara Island has a large Sea Lion rookery & Seabirds nesting colonies. It is home to the largest breeding colony for the rare Xantus's Murrelet, a threatened seabird species. If we're lucky we'll see one. We'll also see Black Storm Petrel, warblers, finches, owls!! and hummingbirds. There are no trees, or shelter of any kind, but there is the Santa Barbara Island Live-Forever, a succulent plant endemic to the island. Which will offer no protection whatsoever should there be a storm. But there won't be. It's going to be sunshine and smooth sailing...(finger's crossed).
and when that foghorn blows i will be coming home...
oh and if you've read this far and you have an interest in seeing what the Islands look like you can go to http://www.chuckgrahamphoto.com/ go into the gallery and click on Channel Islands for a look at some beautiful images...
enjoy your weekend!