Adventure Time: Santa Cruz Island

Sometimes I get overwhelmed when I think about all the traveling and exploring I’d like to do. I’m going to Ireland next month, which I absolutely can’t wait for, and Japan has been high on my mind. Part of what overwhelms me, though, is the sheer amount of adventuring there is to do right in my backyard! I live in the third biggest state in the third largest country in the world — there’s so much to see! How do I split up my time? What do I prioritize? Is it better to get out of your corner of the world to see what’s out there, or to intimately familiarize yourself with the world around you? I don’t think there’s an answer. All I can do is keep trying to do both until I run out of time.

This weekend was all about my backyard. Santa Cruz Island is one of five islands called the Channel Islands off the southern coast of California — only about an hour away from my hometown by boat. I had gone on field trips to Anacapa Island in elementary school, but this was my first visit to Santa Cruz, and it was just too short.



Our boat departed at 8 on Saturday morning, setting us on a choppy hour-long ride to the island. Once on the island, it was less than a mile hike to our campsite.


We had a recent rainstorm, so the whole island was starting to turn green, and I loved the Eucalyptus trees that protected our campsite.


One of the island’s claims to fame is the presence of the Channel Islands fox, a species that is endemic to the island and can’t be found anywhere else. They’re undeniably adorable, but also sneaky and fearless. Between them and the giant ravens that populate the island, you have to be vigilant about your food, packs, and tents — they know how zippers work and they’re not afraid to use them!


Santa Cruz is a big island (96 square miles!) and there is plenty to explore, whether on foot or by kayak as a lot of people choose to do. I definitely want to come back and kayak — there are some awesome sea caves and coves that can’t be reached on foot. We did a 2.5-mile hike on Sunday morning to the Potato Harbor overlook that provided some great views and a solid uphill workout.


I left Santa Cruz immediately wanting to return. There were just too many things I didn’t get to see! I love beachcombing and tidepool exploring and I didn’t get nearly enough of a chance to do those things. I’m hoping Marshall and I can plan a longer summer trip.

Oh, and for those of you who were wondering — I got to see a whale! A fin whale surfaced near the front of our boat on the ride back to Ventura, but I was so excited that I didn’t even think of taking a picture. I didn’t want to miss a second! Fin whales are the second largest whale species and fast, which is sort of terrifying but also very very cool.

All in all, it was a successful weekend but, as most weekends are, much too short. I’m already counting down the minutes till my next adventure!

Published by clairelaminen

I am a Ventura, California native with a compulsion to create. I'm a storyteller, through writing, photography, and occasionally music. Weekends are for camping with my husband, reading, and hunting for vintage treasures, which I sell in my Etsy shop, Peace & Goodwill. My favorite things include lavender lattes, swimming in the ocean, true crime podcasts, The X-Files, and Peaky Blinders. I hope to become a full-time writer, bestselling novelist, and a continually improving reflection of God's grace. Proverbs 16:24

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