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Ramblings - Anacapa Crossing

 

 
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Anacapa Island Crossing

June 26, 2005

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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.

Anacapa IslandIn 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.

Anacapa IslandFor 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!

Lee A. Shurie
June 26, 2005


Lee Shurie