Nine of us launched at 5:40 this morning for our planned round trip to
Anacapa Island: George Miller, Lee Shurie, Henry Pilcher, Kathy Pilcher, Bob
McMurray, Mike Bode, Henk Aling, Joh Turner, and Tony Chapman. Henry and
Kathy drove the longest distance, having come from Anaheim Hills, while Bob
came up from Long Beach.
In the pre-dawn light we headed out toward oil platform Gina, which we
passed in about 45 minutes. We were off to a good start! Along the way out
to the shipping lanes we enjoyed the sight of orange jellyfish, seals, sea
lions, and several pods of dolphin.
When an eastbound ship appeared we debated whether to try to beat it or stop
to let it pass. Wisely we waited. It passed in front of George as the sun
came out in full force to highlight Arch Rock and the Anacapa Lighthouse.
We arrived at the island by 8:35, having done the 11 NM in just under 3
hours, then we paddled west to Cathedral Cove where we landed at 8:50 on a
smooth black sand beach. After a bite to eat, George announced the plan:
meet at Arch Rock at 9:45. Everyone had the choice to explore the coast or
kick back and rest until then. No sooner did he announce this than all 9 of
us eagerly hopped into our boats and split up into small groups. Some
paddled directly to Arch Rock and played there, while others explored
Cathedral Cave and other interesting spots along the shoreline.
For me it was a delight to see the expression on Mike Bode's face and to
hear his repeated exclamations at the marvelous scenery - this being his
first introduction to the clear water, abundant wildlife, and impressive
scenery of the Channel Islands. Conditions were benign with virtually no
wind and very little swell. Seals barked from their rock perches inside
caves, their voices amplified and echoing across the water. Sea lions came
right up to us and stared in curiosity. Garibaldi could be seen darting
among the rocks and sea grass.
By 9:50 we had all regrouped at Arch Rock and began the trip home. It had
turned into a glorious clear day with mild winds and calm seas. Along the
way we were treated to more inquisitive seals and sea lions and several more
pods of dolphin. One large pod completely surrounded our little fleet,
jumping and playing within just a few feet of our boats. This continued for
5 or 10 minutes as we all grinned and exclaimed how amazing it was.
Eventually they went on their way, and so did we.
As we neared the harbor some of the group sprinted ahead (those must have
been the hungry ones!) and landed just before 1 PM. The others trickled in
within the next 15 minutes. Something amazing to me is that Tony Chapman did
the whole trip on a 12 foot SOT and had no trouble keeping up the pace!
Afterward we enjoyed good food and great conversation at Daddy-O's. Everyone
agreed it was a fabulous day on the water.
Thanks to a great group, who made the day tremendous fun, and to George
Miller -a great co-host!
June 26, 2005