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Channel Islands 2011 Trip

Day 4 of 5

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Tuesday, April 19th
Potato Harbor

Tuesday morning we found that the foxes had once again defecated on our picnic table. Grr... We would be glad to be rid of them after today.

After breakfast, we packed up our camp and walked down to the visitor's center. I knew there were bear boxes there for day use storage, and we could use those to store most of our gear while we did a day hike. I had no intention of carrying my tent if we didn't have to. Also, I wanted to confirm our boat departure time. The ranger I spoke to seemed a bit surprised that I was asking. He confirmed that it was 3:30pm, with campers loading around 3:00-3:15pm.

We then headed off on a hike to Potato Harbor.

After the hike, we returned to the benches by the rusted cars, where a group of high school kids was listening to someone explain how they were about to help weed out some invasive species. While we retrieved our gear from the lockers, they started to weed. Meanwhile, a fox milled about near our picnic table, so I took the opportunity to take a few shots.

Santa Cruz Island Fox

Santa Cruz Island Fox

Santa Cruz Island Fox

Santa Cruz Island Fox

Santa Cruz Island Fox

Santa Cruz Island Fox

At 3:00pm, we turned the corner and went over to the boat dock. There was no boat in sight. I would have expected to see it coming from Ventura, but it was nowhere to be found. Perhaps it was running really late? Suddenly, at 3:15pm, a boat appeared from the left, coming from one of the other islands (or perhaps the other end of Santa Cruz Island). It unloaded some passengers and we waited. The sign at the landing area said for campers to put their gear down and not bring it onto the pier. We (along with the other returning campers) obliged. But then all these high school kids and others started boarding the boat in front of us. Finally, I made my way up to the boat and asked; she seemed surprised, like it was obvious that we should be bringing our camping gear onto the pier and onto the boat (despite the sign that said the exact opposite).

In any case, we finally made it onto the boat and started the return trip. Unlike our nearly empty ride to the island, our return boat was nearly full. Thankfully, it was different in another way -- the water was nearly completely calm. I had suspected that the return trip might be calmer because of the direction of travel, but the water itself was devoid of the waves we'd seen earlier, making it a walk in the park as far as my seasickness was concerned.

The boat stopped for some whales along the way back. While others did get a chance to view the whales, I managed not to (partly because I wanted to sit most of the time because I was afraid of getting sick). After a 10-15 minute delay, we continued through thick fog but calm seas. We arrived back at Ventura Harbor at 4:50pm. After loading up the car, we reached the visitor's center (which closed at 5pm) just a bit too late to get the kids their Junior Ranger badges. We'd end up stopping by on our way home on Saturday to get the badges. We did have them walk through the garden outside to finish one of the pages in the booklet.

As we returned to our car, we noticed a wave of surfers entering the parking lot, heading out to the surf. We ended our Channel Islands adventure, heading south for a different adventure for the kids -- Legoland and Disneyland.


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