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Trip To The Islands
updated: Jul 22, 2014, 8:15 AM

By Edhat Subscriber

I'm a Santa Barbara native and it'll be my first trip out to the islands...specifically Santa Cruz Island for some camping and kayaking. Any suggestions or tips for a fun, eventful trip?

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 537863 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-22 08:49 AM

Be prepared for a totally unique experience. The fauna and flora are quite different there and some are unique to the islands.

Have fun. Take pictures. Bring extra socks.


 COMMENT 537867 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-22 08:57 AM

If you are taking a sail boat look up Brian Fagans cruising guide! It can be very handy!


 COMMENT 537868 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-22 09:01 AM

Dress in layers!


 SBSURFERLIFE agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-22 09:15 AM

Don't go to San Miguel where the Navy is supposedly digging up old bombs!


 COMMENT 537888P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-22 09:55 AM

Ooh, yes, I agree with 863! Take lots of pics and post some here for us to enjoy. It's funny, I'm a native too but have never ventured to the islands. Enjoy, and if you get a chance, share your experience with us :)


 COMMENT 537894 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-22 10:03 AM

Going on a private boat is about 100 times more unique. If you just go on the ferry to Scorpion Harbor you will feel like you are at Malibu in the summer. The campsite is over 1/2 mile from the beach, which is crowded with four kayak tour operators and all the day-trippers.

I offer liveaboard charters to the islands on a 38-foot sailing yacht, for about $100/person/day (four-person/two-day minimum). So no Island Packer fees, no camping fees, no people, and [almost] no rules. Your boat, you're in charge.

Coastguard licensed charter captain since 2000. Please contact me for more info and dates: 1nickt at gmail dot com.


 FLICKA agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-22 10:44 AM

894, Sounds like you give a wonderful trip. I used to go the Santa Rosa on the Vaquero ll, to pick up cattle.
Poster, I suggest getting Marla Daly's book about Santa Cruz, either before or after you go. Wonderful history of Santa Cruz; she wrote books about each Island. I'd imagine Chaucers will have it. Nice to know the background of where you visited.


 COMMENT 537939 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-22 10:47 AM

It can be a lot cooler out there than it is on the mainland. Be prepared with warmer clothing. And don't forget to bring a towel!


 COMMENT 537940 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-22 10:47 AM

I'm sure Island Packer and camping fees are less than the $800 minimum for a private boat.


 COMMENT 537953 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-22 10:56 AM

If you are camping at Scorpion Harbor, take a hike over to the Potato Harbor overlook at sunset, spectacular views!


 COMMENT 537987P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-22 11:41 AM

Another book is Diary of a Sea Captain's Wife: Tales of Santa Cruz Island -- accounts of a fisherman's family's life out there c. 1908-1937, including at Scorpion, Pelican Bay, and other island locations.


 COMMENT 537990 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-22 11:44 AM

Don't forget Painted Cave on the front side of the island. One of the largest sea caves in the world, ,if not the largest. Do yourself a favor and don't miss it.


 COMMENT 538004 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-22 12:06 PM

Thank you all for the information and kind suggestions! I'll be keeping everything in mind and will hopefully have some exciting pics to share upon my return! :)


 COMMENT 538014P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-22 12:46 PM

Thank you, 004/OP! Cool thread and lots of good info from all the comments.


 COMMENT 538021 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-22 12:52 PM

It's often very foggy and if you are camping out your tent or sleeping bag will get soggy. Anacapa Island has a foghorn that goes off to warn boaters and it is LOUD and goes all night.


 COMMENT 538053 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-22 01:49 PM

I was there on saturday, about 35 ft or more of viz, water temp about 67. Great snorkeling, we saw so much life, tons of big fish, and the bigges rays I've ever seen only five feet away. Just stunning.


 COMMENT 538201 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-22 06:24 PM

Look for bio-luminescence in the water at night. When it happens, it's quite spectacular. The anchor line will light up as it surges, fish darting by leave luminescent streaks, and if you're lucky, you might see a manta-ray in phosphorescent technicolor.


 GBOB agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-23 08:19 AM

You can rent kayaks at Channel Island Harbor, Island Packers will carry them over with you. Leave Scorpion (on Santa Cruz) early and head west on north side until wind comes up, then cruise downwind to return. Great, peaceful experience.

Take a wet suit (3mm shorty works in late summer) and snorkeling gear. The shoreline around Scorpion is wonderful.

NPS campground is an easy walk in from Scorpion, with decent amenities.

Lots of good hikes.

Pretty warm this time of year.

Wonderful trip, and great time to visit this part of the year.

Have fun!


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