The Channel Islands

By Patty Wilber

We left all the horses at home and went to California last weekend to visit Progeny #2 and his Significant Other.

We had a blast wine tasting, hiking, and going to the Channel Islands.

California Sea Lions

California Sea Lions that we saw on the way to Santa Cruz Island

We got there via the Island Packers –on a boat. I am a little iffy on boats–  I have been known to barf.

The air seemed “calm” to “light breeze” (according to the Beaufort Scale) when we left Goleta for the port. I went sans Dramamine.

It wasn’t that calm.

It was probably somewhere between a “moderate” and  a “fresh  breeze” (but I swear the sea  looked like the “strong breeze” picture on the Beaufort Scale link).  I left the indoor seating area promptly after we set out and went to the back of the boat (the calmest part, according to the captain) and kept the wind in my face and looked mainly at the horizon–it tends to appear stable.

There were a few hurlers, but I wasn’t one of them!

We saw the sea lions above and a gray whale!  Only the big tail fluke, though.  Impressive fluke!

******Beaufort Scale Trivia: a “storm” is worse than a “strong gale”.

Here’s what we did:

Hiked. I am still in rotten condition for hiking with 20 somethings and triathletes.  I will probably need to fix that.

Ok I look vigorous enough here, but you must be suspicious of anyone with legs that white.

I may look vigorous enough here, but you must be suspicious of anyone with legs that white. Perhaps I should consider a spray on tan.

We went to Potato Cove. Four miles round trip–far enough.

Jim, Mark, Me, Erika above Potato Cove.

Jim, Mark, Me and Erika above Potato Cove.

We saw the Island Fox, too!

Aw!  They are endemic to the eight Channel Islands (only live there) but they are cute!  And all over the camp ground.

Aw! They are endemic to the eight Channel Islands (only live there) and they are cute! And all over the campgrounds.

Snorkeled.  I like snorkeling! This was my first go using a wet suit.

Wet suits are really hard to put on! And this one wasn’t even my size–it was Mark’s, so a little big..And they are weirdly hard to move in at first. I felt like the kid in A Christmas Story!

The water was about 60F, which turns out to be COLD, if you ask me.  I was feeling really snug in my wet suit until I got deep enough that the water snuck in the zipper.

Ay Yi Yi.  Yi Yi!

I could not breathe for a minute there.  It was a “wet” suit after all, so water is supposed to come in.  Just a thin layer and then your body warms it up and it is not so bad. My un-wet-suited head was cold until it went numb but my un-wet-suited hands were the weak link.  I stayed in about 30 minutes.  I had booties, so my feet were fine–guess I need gloves, too. Weenie.

We saw fish and urchins and Erika saw a huge crab.  I still get a big kick out of seeing the Garibaldi, state fish of California, all because of the 47 times I read the kids book “The Mystery of the Red Tide” which does not get rave reviews on Amazon but it was still a favorite of mine.  Ok, there are only two reviews,  total.

This is from a blog but this is what we saw--only I saw it from the top down not the bottom up.

This is from a blog but this is what we saw–only I saw it from the top down not the bottom up.   I don’t like to get water in my snorkel…you have to blow it out and I figure I’d inhale it instead.  Best to stay above the water line.

Swimming in (or on top of) the kelp forests is really amazing!!

Link to blog about urchins and kelp from whence I found this picture.

We came back on the 4 pm boat and went to eat in Ventura (originally. San Buenaventura) at a seafood place called The Lure.  If you go to Ventura, go there.  The meal was very good, the service was outstanding and the flourless chocolate cake was so scrumptious I very nearly picked up the plate to lick off the last bits.

Great trip.  Thanks Mark and Erika for your hospitality!

 

 

About BlogPatty

Here's the skinny: I have a thing for horses. They make sense to me. I have a small horse training business (it's a "boutique" training business, not because it's super fancy, but because the horses get a lot of personal attention). I also go by Dr. Wilber, and teach biology full-time at a Central New Mexico Community college.
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