As fun as it is to travel with all my Tinys in tow, it’s nice to get a little one-on-one time every once in awhile too. During our recent California roadtrip, Brett took our two youngest to the beach, while 5 year old Jude and I spent the day adventuring on the high seas!
Island Packers, who run daily cruises out of Oxnard and Ventura, had invited us to journey with them out to the Channel Islands. Along the way we’d be keeping a keen eye out for sea life: migrating whales, frolicking seals and large families of dolphins!
These beautiful creatures swam right up to our boat and began racing along side us, jumping and diving playfully in the foam. Jude and I rushed to the bow in excitment – the dolphins were so close we could almost touch them! Jude even pointed out a mommy and baby swimming together. It was amazing to share this experience with him! We chatted excitedly as we crossed the water, soon arriving at Anacapa Island.
Anacapa is not your iconic “palm trees and grass huts” kind of island. It is an outcropping of rock, covered in desert-like foliage – cactus, low bushes, wild flowers. It’s perfectly preserved by a team of hard-working National Park rangers who gave us a strict list of rules and offered walking tours. Because the island a nesting area for several endangered bird species, the 1.5 mile hiking trail is a basic loop (going nowhere near the island’s lighthouse, which is off limits) which takes you to several lovely view spots. I was fascinated to meet a group that had just finished camping overnight on Anacapa Island. There’s no running water and no fires allowed, but I imagine the stargazing at night is spectacular!
After docking, we made the aerobic climb up the 150 stairs to the top of the island and found the visitor’s center. Jude was already complaining of the heat so I knew he’d never make it on the hike. However, the ranger had Jr. Ranger Workbooks on hand, which turned out to be an fun way to get to know the island while enjoying the shade and ocean view. The activities encouraged us to observe nature around us, explore a little and think thoughtfully about perservation. I loved learning with Jude in such a beautiful environment.
We were hot and hungry by the time we reboarded the boat! Luckily, Island Packers had come prepared with a great array of refreshments for sale. While we licking ice cream cones we sailed right past a huge group of sealions basking in the sun and a few minutes later, we encountered dolphins again! Jude and I spent the rest of the time at the bow, pointing out sights and watching the shore grow large in front of us.
Visiting Anacapa Island was truly unique and amazing for both Jude and I. I’m so glad we got to do it together! Our experience with Island Packers could not have been better. Their staff was super friendly and helpful throughout our journey, the boat was clean and not overcrowded. I’m looking forward to taking the whole family out to the Channel Islands the next time we’re in California!