After getting back from paddling in BC I was really excited about getting back out to the Channel Islands in Southern California. That is really where I started my paddling career and I love the crossings out to the islands, the rugged coastlines and caves to explore, the warm weather and mellow camping. So a couple of weeks ago I got an email out of the blue that my old friend Pedro was planning a weekend paddle out to Anacapa Island with my even older friend Aaron: Would I be interested? - Of course!
Pedro is really the guy who got me started in a kayak, taking a bunch of us on a kayak/camping trip to Catalina. But after he got married and got into mountaineering I didn't see him so often. And then I moved away to NorCal so it had been several years since we've paddled together. Aaron has been one of my best friends since grad school but he's never done more than casual kayaking - this would be his first crossing in open water.
But a week before the paddle Aaron hurt his shoulder and was off the trip - it sucks getting old. So it was just me and Pedro as it was so often in the past. We did some very casual planning and packing the night before and got a not too early start on Saturday morning. Everything is just easy when each person is experienced and you are used to paddling together. The crossing is about 15 miles and on the way over we saw lots of dolphins, some friendly sea lions and a couple of Minke whales.
Once at the island we played in a few caves, went through the famous arch and dragged our boats up to the dock to hang out with Aaron and his wife Dawn who had come over on the ferry. They took the boat back around 5pm while Pedro and I set up camp - sort of. Neither of us brought a tent and I forgot my tarp. Pedro remembered his tarp but had no stakes for it. Without a good wind shelter we passed on trying to cook and just split the Subway sandwich Aaron had brought us. Then we caught the gorgeous sunset before trying to rig the tarp for a little shelter as we slept. In the middle of the night the wind shifted and exploded our poor little structure so the rest of the night was exposed and quite wet in the dense fog. But we were headed home the next day so it didn't really matter.
The paddle back was subdued by the fog. We saw more dolphin pods but no container ships crossed our path - that's the only real danger on a foggy crossing. We made it back by 1:30pm and had a couple burgers and headed back to LA. Smooth sailing just like the good ol' days.
More pictures here.