Hiking to the cliffs will give you an amazing view of the coves you explored during the day while kayaking.
I remember doing our first day of kayaking during the day and when it finally started to get really chilly we began our climb (not too long) to the cliffs above to watch the sunset. My bones ached so much (I'm so out of shape!) that I was shaking on the way down--a few Tylenols when I got back to the camp fixed all that though.
The most common way to get to Santa Cruz Island is by taking a boat from Ventura. Island Packers has a great boat, comfortable and fast! The ride from Ventura Harbor to Santa Cruz is about one hour. There are two places on the island where they can drop you off. One is Scorpion Anchorage and the other, Prisoners Harbor. The boats let you take as many things as you like, including your own kayak (for a small fee). You may bring your own or rent one at the facility next to Island Packers.
Here are the rates:
Day $48 (3-4 hours on island)
Everywhere there is clear water, I have my snorkel gear--this trip was no exception. The waters surrounding Santa Cruz Island were amazingly clear. We took a couple stops here and there to view the local color (under water, that is).
There are hundreds of bright organe Garibaldi fish swimming around and lots of colorful sea urchin and starfish. These aren't the tropical waters of other places so the most colors you'll see are red, orange and green. Still completely amazing though. Don't get caught in the seaweed that grows 2 feet a day!
Equipment: Go: Arrive by kayak at any secluded shore or cove along the coast!
Bring: Fins, snorkel gear, sunblock lotion (SO IMPORTANT).
The main draw of the Santa Cruz island is the kayaking. Most of the kayaking is done around the island to visit all the hidden coves and sea caves. Don't forget your helmet! Sometimes water can rush up fast and push you to the top of the cave before you even have a chance to react!
Equipment: Any local rental company will let you know what you need--kayak, paddle, HELMET, helmet light (for cave exploring), life vest, and a wet suit (waters can get cold).