Frenchies Cove on Anacapa Island was on the schedule for Wednesday, but due to the swell and wind, we had to go with plan b; Scorpion on Santa Cruz Island. It was very windy hiking on the island. I decided to go through the campground and up what used to be a fire road, but now looks like its been all washed out, but I continued forward climbing over rocks, and walking up a dirt trail. If I was there a few weeks ago in the middle of all that rain, this route probably would of had water running down the hill. I reached the top and took the so called trail out to Potato Harbor. The condition of that trail was not the best, and with the wind, it was a little nerve racking at times, so I didn't stay long. I then returned to Scorpion via Cavern Point. The island was so green from all the rain we've had, it was pretty. I saw a couple of spouts in the distance of Gray Whales going down the south side of Santa Cruz Island. I made it back to Scorpion Ranch and still had some time, so I decided to hike further east to the first point. The trail in that direction was in good condition, although I don't know what it looked like before since this was my first time on it, but it was a wide, dirt trail. The wind was mild, so it was more tolerable to stop and take some photos. I saw a few more blows from the Gray Whales on my way back to the pier.
These photos of the Gray Whales were taken on another trip.
Mainland in the far distance. Two Gray Whales on the surface starting to go down on their deep dive.
Two Gray Whales surfacing along the south side of Anacapa Island
Santa Barbara Island is one of the five islands that make up Channel Islands National Park. It is the smallest island only being one-square mile in size and is located about 55-miles from Ventura County.
I spent 3 days on the island in September, and thoroughly enjoyed it. I think it is the best way to really enjoy the island and experience it.
Here are three photos I would like to share. You can go to my website to see more photos. And for more information and transportation to the island, you can go here.
After I arrived to the island, unpacked, got settled, I decided to hike part of the island and see what I see. I headed for Seal Rookery as that sounded interesting and an easier hike. After climbing an incline with all my weekend gear, making two trips, I wanted something non-strenuous. :) There were a ton of Sea Lions, possibly Harbor Seals, and possible Elephant Seals. I thought, this probably will be good for sunrise.
The next morning I was a tad late for sunrise, but it looked like all the Sea Lions and Seals were just waking up and starting to move. I watched them for almost an hour and found it quite interesting. They would get up, and the ones that were furthest away from where they entered the water, they would make their way up this trail that they made over time. If others were lying in their way, they would just crawl right on over them. Adults would stop every now and then for the youngsters and vice versa.
So, I decided the next morning, I would make sure I am there at sunrise. It was a nice hike to start your morning out, but still quite dark with Owls flying around. I was there at sunrise, the sun was already starting to make its way above the peaks of Catalina Island. The Sea Lions and Seals were still sound asleep. Just a few were up and about, but not many. Hmmm, I thought as I waited. Well, it wasn't until about 20 minutes after sunrise that they started waking up and making their way down the trail to the area where they entered the water. I thought, well this will work still, although a tad hard to shoot almost directly into the light and not much of an area to work with in moving around to a better location. So, I did what I could. It wasn't until about 45 minutes after the sun was up that the majority of them started waking and making their way to where they entered the water. It almost seem like clock work and on a schedule. But, I stayed for another hour or so and watched, photographed and learn some things about them before heading back to my place for breakfast.
Friday, December 31, 2010, Kayla and I decided at the last minute to take the whale watch boat out of Ventura with Island Packers since a friend was on board. We found out as we were walking down to the boat that they just came in from seeing Orcas, but of course, wasn't sure if it was possible to find them again. Transient Orcas can disappear really fast, and cover a great deal of area over a short period of time. So we headed out of Ventura harbor with Kayla in her typical spot that Anthony always sets up for her. It was a beautiful, but down right chilly day. We encountered an "indecisive" Gray Whale trying to decide which route to take through the last half of the Santa Barbara Channel down to Baja. After watching the Gray Whale and getting our exercise from going from one side of the boat to the other to watch it, we encountered a good size group of Common Dolphins in front of Anacapa Island heading east. Do they know what lies up ahead of them? Didn't seem so.
A few miles east and inland a bit from Anacapa Island, the Vanguard; sister
boat of the Islander that we were on were with a small group of Transient Orcas, so we hurried to them. We arrived as they were looking for something to eat. They tossed a California Sea Lion into the air before having it for dinner. It was about that time. Luckily, for sensitive people, they killed and ate it under water. There was one large male in the group which trained two of the younger Orcas. One of the younger ones seem to be very young as it still had an orange tint to its white areas. Once they were done with their meal, they headed out west and we said good-bye.
I have decided that starting today I will be posting a photo at least 5 x week. It might be a previous photo or one taken the same day as I post. I can not believe that it has been over a year since I have had a decent posting here.
Hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and are ready to start 2011. May this coming year be filled with lots of joy and good health.
For today, January 01, 2011, I am posting a photo of a Gray Whale on its southern migration route to Baja from the Bering Sea. This Gray Whale was traveling with another one, but they were on different breathing cycles. Our whale watch season has just begun, and it is off to a GREAT start so far. We have seen lots of Gray Whales daily, dolphins and several encounters with Orcas.