Sunday, August 11, 2013

islands of the blue dolphin

 welcome to the magnificent and diverse
 channel islands national marine sanctuary & national park

close to the california mainland, yet worlds apart, the channel islands national marine sanctuary 
and national park encompass the ocean environment and five of the eight california channel islands 
(anacapa, santa cruz, santa rosa, san miguel and and santa barbara). the sanctuary and park bridge
two biogeographical provinces, and, in a remarkably small area, harbor thousands of species of plants
and animals. one hundred and forty-five of these species are found nowhere else in the world.
 cultural resourses date back 13,000 years. 
the islands' remote, isolated position at the confluence of two major ocean currents creates 
remarkable biodiversity. the mingling of cool, nutrient-rich waters from the north with warm
currents from the south form a dynamic transition zone that is home to a myriad of sea life 
from microscopic plankton to blue whales

 an aerial view of the channel islands

and scorpion anchorage at santa cruz island, our destination

we're here! 

 foxy welcome

 setting up the tent is strenuous work

just kidding!

 camp is set up, tommorrow we'll paddle, today we're going on a hike...

 we made our way to potato harbor, see the kayakers far below? they have paddled over from scorpion anchorage

 super exciting, my sister met us at the harbor this morning and came out for the day!

hiking back towards cavern you see those small dots (people) at the very top of this very sheer, very steep cliff? 

four 'o clock already, my sister is taking the boat back home now

* * * 

the following morning, time to paddle!

chuck is our guide. we took two double kayaks, hannah and matt in one, chuck and i in another. i like this a lot since it makes it much easier to take photos...

the sights and sounds of sea caves!

we paddled in some caves that were almost entirely dark

it's a relief to see the light

this cave is named sharks tooth for the jagged rocks that hang down from the ceiling. at this tide you have to lie all the way back in the kayak and work with the surging water to inch your way out...

this cave is very large, we carefully checked for sealife that may have been using the beach
in the far back, so as not to disturb them. it was empty

just incredibly beautiful ocean water

a curious sea lion

stopping for a little break

and a kiss

and a swim

my girl is part mermaid, the water is cold!

some caves require finesse to get in

a harbor seal resting upon a rock

back to scorpion, thank you chuck, so very much! you are the world's best kayak guide (even if i'm biased because you are my husband)   :)

* * * 

later that afternoon, another hike

this time there was a trail, and then there wasn't...

there was beautiful scenery

we rock hopped an hour up a canyon until we came to this

a bit of a road block

even though the guys made it up the boulders, it was decided this would be a good time to turn around
and head back...

our time on the island is over, we need to pack up, the boat is on it's way to take us 
 home to the mainland

waiting on the pier

bye islands, we'll be back

bye foxes, be good

bye blue dolphins, thank you for another magical time! thank you for reading, i hope you enjoyed,
it is always such a pleasure to share!

for information on camping and kayaking at channel islands national park click on the links below:

p.s. these are the islands that are written about by scott o'dell in this book, a favorite from my childhood


  1. that was AMAZING!!! my wee girly and i just looked at everything and the videos. that first video of the cave, with the ocean rising and falling looked like the cave was breathing. so beautiful. and your last photo of the fox... i love those foxes. <3 thank you so much. oh and your daughter is rocking those tattoos! :)

  2. Just a breathtaking sequence, Lori. I know which ferry I need to be on ;)

  3. What a wonderful trip, and such an exciting, adventurous life you lead! Gorgeous photos!

  4. Wow, looks like a great adventure with good company too! xxx

  5. Beautiful Lori! What a wonderful wild adventure, though I was a wee bit worried for a second with the photo with you kissing the guide!! until you mention he's your husband, yay! The green in the cave water is so incredible : I want to some yarn in that shade right way! and the dolphin's farewell, lovely!
    Thanks ,as always, for sharing.

  6. your life looks like so much fun!
    and you have a beautiful family :)

  7. What an amazing adventure Lori. I loved seeing such beautiful places in your photos and hope to one day visit in person. I know you are enjoying all the time with your girl and I am glad you are making memories.

  8. How beautyful, the pictures, the wildlife, the family trip.
    Thank you for sharing, your photos are sp much fun and breathtaking from time to time. With such a good guide in the boat I would have made it into dark caves, too. Scary to imagine going in there all by oneself. :o)

  9. What an adventure, and such amazing pictures - the water is such a beautiful color.
    I think I would be too chicken to go into those caves with their sharks teeth hanging from the roof! but then if I had the worlds best kayak guide with me, I might just be brave enough.
    Hannah and Matt are such a good looking couple!

  10. Looks magnificent Lori- what an adventure. Beautiful images - I feel like I was seeing it thru your eyes. Beautiful Ohana- yours and the dolphins...

  11. What a gorgeous place...although I admit I might get a bit claustrophobic in those sea caves!

  12. Wonderful photos, as always. You bring the reader along on your journeys. Amazing.

  13. How beautiful!
    The nature and the people!
    I love to follow your adventures Lori it´s a privilige to follow your blog!
    Kayaking in caves how exciting.
    I was kayaking in the baltic sea this summer that was quite an experience too;) I really loved it!

  14. My oh my, Lori, what beautiful places you visit! And how kind you are to share these remarkable places with us.

    Your adventuring quartet are in such terrific certainly covered lots of territory on your visit. Great that your sister could join you all, too.

    That ocean water is absolutely mesmerizing in its clear beauty. The rocks and caves are magnificent. (I don't think I would be brave enough to paddle through those dark caves or climb those steep rocky ways...but really appreciate being able to vicariously follow your lead.)


    p.s. Yes, wouldn't it be fun to take that Scottish ferry?

  15. Oh, I most certainly did enjoy it! What a lovely and fantastic visit to the island - although I am not at all sure that I would have been able to do all that kakyaking. Most probably I would have fallen into the water :-)

  16. Hi Lori,

    You lead such an exciting life! To kayak on the sea, through those caves, I have never done anything like it..... I canoed, but only on small rivers :-), but that's far less scary!

    The island looks like a beautiful place. All that wildlife. It must be special too being almost alone there.

    Have a great week!

    Madelief x

  17. You know, I've been kayaking on the rivers of Tennessee, I've hiked in the Smokies... but it's been nothing like this! You've given me new inspiration for adventures. Thank you. I love your photos and this blog. I'll be back.



  18. Everything is so beautiful Lori, but Hannah stole the show! She's blossoming into such a gorgeous mermaid woman! Wish I were coming out this month but alas am not... Hope all is well in your world. Wish we were closer. Xoxo

  19. Wow! Sometimes the world is so beautiful we don't even need to knit.

  20. I love that you were with your husband and daughter and son in love and yes even a sister! Could that day be any better? Incredible photography (as always) I bet you will remember that day for a long long time, thanks for sharing it with us.

  21. lori, i've mentioned to you before how much phil and i would love to kayak to these islands. i've spent many a year looking at them from my parent's place in santa barbara where they lived and wondering what it would be like to go there. your photos are amazing and only make me want to plan a trip!

    p.s. how great to have hannah back in california!

  22. As a children's librarian, I've always been familiar with the book; as a retiree, I never thought I'd be visiting the islands before having a morning cup of coffee. Thank you!

  23. Looks like an amazing time lori, making great memories. It seems like an incredible place, it's so good that it's being preserved with all that amazing wild life. Love those little foxes. Thanks for sharing it all with us.

  24. Lori, You are always going on such wonderful adventures! This looks so fun! Lucky ducks. xoxo

  25. Wow Lori you sure do live the life that most only dream of. I think what makes everything so appealing in your pics is your love and appreciation of nature.
    You are definitely an inspiration x robyn

  26. Oh THANK YOU for sharing your journey with us! That was lovely!

  27. what amazing adventures you have!
    thank you for sharing all this beauty ♥

  28. Wow! what an amazing adventure!! I particularly love the animal photos - the pelican and the boat is amazing as are the dolphins; simply stunning! Sue at

  29. Loved every bit of this! How great to have your kids visit and adventure along with you.

  30. One of these days, I hope to take a trip with the world's best kayak guide! Lovely.

  31. thank you thank you thank you.
    as you know, these islands are just as close in distance to me, too.
    my girls are too young to take the adventure you did. but ONE DAY.
    I really enjoyed your photos and story. WONDERFUL.
    Going to share it with Brad now.

  32. Lovely and amazing shots Lori. They are all so incredibly beautiful.
    There is not way to pick out a favorite shot of all those beautiful caves. But I can tell you I love the pic of you, your sister and your sweet girl.

  33. I've been on the most amazing trips, thanks to your camera, my friend. Hey, even though we're across country...I found a Great yarn shop that you must come see in Raleigh, XOXO

  34. Hi Lori, I had seen you in some of the blogs I visited and thought I had joined your blog before... I can't believe I didn't before, because I absolutely LOVE your blog. Your adventure pictures, your knitting, your taste in colors and the kindness in your hear... you are an inspiration and I'll be returning to visit you again and again. I'm now one of your newest (happy) followers. :)


xoxo lori