Channel Islands, Los Angeles
Favorite thing: Transportation to Anacapa is provided by the National Park concessioner. Landings, except at Frenchys Cove, require written permission from the service. Be prepared upon debarkation to climb 153 steps to the islands plateau where you will find spectacular views and a visitor center. A 1.5 mile self-guided hiking trail explores the beauty of the island. Picnicking is allowed, as is camping (with a permit). Many scuba and skin divers come to the Channel Islands to enjoy the caves, coves and shipwrecks below. It is said that clawless lobsters up to 5 feet long can be found (and harested) in the waters here. Beware! Souvenirs may not be taken!
Favorite thing: Western gulls build their nests among the iceplants of the Channel Islands. They will lay 2 or 3 eggs at one time, but there is a 97% mortality rate. The red dot on the beak serves as a target or bullseye for the young when feeding.
Favorite thing: This church-like structure houses the island's water supply since no permanent source of freshwater is available. As of 1980, the islands have come under the protection of the National Park Service with the goal of providing a habitat for marine life - all the way from microscopic plankton to the blue whale.
Favorite thing: In 1542, the explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo sailed into the Santa Barbara Channel under the Spanish flag. He was the first European to land on the Channel Islands. The name of Anacapa came about when Cabrillo misspelled the Indian name for the island which meant in the Chumash tongue 'mirage.' He was followed by other explorers from England and Russia, and eventually by American fur traders who all but extinguished the otter population. Hunters next concentrated on taking seals an sea lions for their fur and oil. In the early 1800's the Chumash Indians and their neighbors in Santa Barbara, the Gabrielino, were removed to mainland missions.
Favorite thing: Long before European exploration, the Channel Islands were inhabited by the Chumash Indians, or 'island people.' They were a seafaring people who fashioned swift canoes called 'tomois' from trees. Theirs was a rich culture, for the Chumash all worked together for the common good of the tribe. Before setting out on expeditions, the male warriors would paint themselves red (the color of death)and go through a traditional funeral ceremony.
Favorite thing: Anacapa Island lies 11 miles southwest of Oxnard and 14 miles south of Ventura. It is almost 5 miles long and covers about 1 square mile. This particular Channel Island is actually 3 small islets which are inaccessible from each other except by boat. January through March is gray whale watch season. These tremendous mammals can be seen swimming the 10,000 mile migration route to the warmer waters of Mexico for mating and calfing. June through September is the time to watch out for the blue and humpback whales who return to feed off the north shore of Santa Rosa Island. The yellow flowers here are called coreopis and the red ones are iceplant. Both grow in abundance atop the Channel Islands although little topsoil exists.
Favorite thing: Do not visit the Lighthouse, as permanent hearing loss could result! The white specks are gulls garding their nests.