Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Girls in Bikinis!

No, it's not just an attention grabbing title. But I'll get to the girls in a little bit.

I just returned home from a 3-day paddling trip to the Channel Islands. Sorry I didn't hit my SPOT when we got to the beach but I had packed it away in the wrong place and didn't want to dig it out of the bottom of the truck after getting packed for the long drive home. But the trip went well and mild weather made for some easy paddling. This was the classic Channel Islands - the perfect 3 day crossing trip. We launched from Oxnard; paddled over to Anacapa Island to explore and camp for the night; paddled on to Santa Cruz Island the next day and spent the night there; finally we paddled back to Oxnard. It's a great intro to kayak camping, open crossings and cave exploration all wrapped up into a long weekend.

View Anacapa-Santa Cruz in a larger map

Our crossing to Anacapa was under grey skies and calm winds. We headed straight for Frenchy's beach, the only place you are allowed to land, for a short break before working our way to the landing cove. The landing cove represents the biggest challenge of the trip - the dock is ten feet above the water. Hauling fully loaded boats up to 'land' is quite the feat. Pedro had devised a hoist system for a similar set up on Santa Barbara Island that would allow one person to do the task along - or at least that was the theory. This was our chance to test it out. But as we rounded the corner we were confronted with a group of bikini clad girls jumping off of said dock. Pedro now had plenty of hands to help haul up kayaks but for some reason chose to go it alone. The system was proven (it worked, but not pretty) with one boat but for the others I jumped up to give him a hand.

The next day the lowering of kayaks from the dock was much easier (maybe it was the help of gravity, maybe the lack of distractions). We paddled through the famous arch and around the south side of Anacapa where we ran into a curious pod of sea lions - check out the video below. Then we crossed over to Santa Cruz, a relatively short crossing at four miles but notorious for headwinds that funnel through the gap. But winds stayed light and we made it into Scorpion Cove before the sun broke through and winds picked up. Since we all have played in the caves around the landing sight numerous times before we decided to take a hike up the canyon to find the Island Ironwood - a small tree that only grows on the Channel Islands. I've been to the islands dozens of times but never heard of this particular tree before - it's cool when a familiar place still has something new to discover.

The third day we had another early launch. The forecast was for winds increasing and out of the NW. We were headed NE and figured a little action, hopefully at our sterns, would help the 20 mile crossing fly along. But the winds never came - even as we approached Oxnard and the sun came out it remained calm and warm. we landed early in the afternoon in time to grab a little sushi (the normal burger joint was closed) and head on home. Not a terrible way to end a simple little trip. More PICTURES HERE and a nice little clip of the sea lions checking us out below:

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