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Little Scorpion to Channel Islands Harbour, CA
Reg
09/08/2011, Santa Cruz Island & Mainland California

Santa Cruz Island. We were again headed somewhat north and hoped for the prevailing westerly winds to develop and provide a SAILING opportunity, and we eventually got the wind and experienced a brisk pure sail in 13-17 knots of wind. It was great, but the majority was motor- assisted as we again wanted to make landfall with lots of daylight left. Arrived at Smugglers cove, our intended anchorage to discover more rolling so pushed on to the north shore and Little Scorpion anchorage. The waters of the channel islands are NOT warm, ranging from 62-67 degrees and with no wet suits swimming for me was a brief 3-5 minute dunk, and for Phoebe non existent. Consequently we confined ourselves to hiking on shore, and Santa Cruz did not disappoint us there. The history is fascinating and the creatures were abundant. We got some great photos of the fox and scrub jay that are endemic to Santa Cruz and many others. The island was at one time owned by a single family and the old homesteads from the 1890's are part of a national park and very interesting for an ex farmer. Loved it, and smiled again when Phoebe at one point lamented that she wasn't very adventuresome. Immediately got her picture at the sign for Smugglers cove, midway through a 5 hour hike. Henceforth I refer to her as Dora the explorer when we are pushing into obscure spots such as the painted caves or well up the canyon at Fry's harbor, (see pictures in the album). After two weeks away from groceries and fresh water we decided to set sail to the mainland at Channel Islands Harbour, prompted by the failure of our dinghy motor.

Santa Cruz Island, CA
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Santa Barbara Island, CA
Reg
09/08/2011, The Anchorage, Santa Barbara Island, CA

I was a bit anxious about this destination (Santa Barbara Island). It is much more remote, rarely visited, and I had received mixed reviews about the anchorage, from being non existent and filled with kelp, to good bottom and easy access. So, west again into the wind, motoring, as we wanted to arrive with lots of daylight left to deal with anchorage issues if required. None were encountered, though it was not much more than an open roadstead on the lee shore, with more surge and fitful nights sleeping. Santa Barbara Island is only 600 acres, with steep high cliffs along the shore. The creatures are not at all concerned about people's presence, in fact seemed curious about us. Many sea lions (we discover sea lions are larger with two rear tail fins, which seals lack) drifted past us in what is best described as this couch lounging position, to gaze at us for minutes at a time. We met two guys here from King Harbour, Barry and Jean, who cooperated with us to get to shore, as access is only possible at the wharf that experiences heavy surges. Leaving a dinghy tied would have it destroyed within an hour. So I took them to the wharf, where they leapt to the ladder as the dinghy surged, and returned to retrieve them after a couple of hours, then Barry reciprocated with us. It is a rugged pristine place with elephant seal beaches in season, sea lions year round, and gulls wheeling overhead and along the shore. The gulls were perched in abundance on land as we descended the west side of the hill, screeching at our approach but not taking flight until within a few feet. Of course we had Barry and Jean over for a beverage at the completion of our adventures to re-live the day. Santa Barbara impressed me. It takes little imagination to ignore the one building for the ranger and the wharf, and see it as it was when first discovered by man. Making that fast leap I could easily see it surviving the human experience and looking much as it is when mankind is gone. After all it has been sitting in the Pacific for millions of years already. The ecosystem is simple and enduring at first glance but I expect is more complicated than it appears. At the end it made me think of my kids and the nature of parental love. We stayed two nights then off we went.

Santa Barbara Island, CA
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Catalina Harbour (Cat Harbour)
Reg
09/08/2011, Catalina Island, CA

Dad's turn at this Blog stuff. We left Little Harbor after a couple of sleep deprived nights (bobbing and rolling all night can have that affect) and pushing a bit north, rather than west or northwest as we have been since leaving San Diego, SAILED!!! slowly on 5 knots of wind from the west into Catalina Harbour. This was a destination I was looking forward to, as it is one of only two "hurricane holes" in California and I was anxious to see it. Our neighbours in Pier 32, Steve and Carol, had spent a year or so in the harbor and had been quick to express their enjoyment of the place. It also boasted a restaurant and bar with wifi and we were anxious to reconnect to the family. It has surprised us how much we rely upon internet access.

Catalina Harbour "Cat Harbour" is a large deep harbour, patrolled by a couple of bald eagles on the west side, and an elderly male buffalo called Wilson to the east. Again we hiked a portion of the Catalina trail. First we went west uphill on a steep grade for two miles, no exaggeration. We were bloody tired when we finally reached mile 29, a destination I pushed for as we needed proof. We met about three troops of young scouts, 12-14 years old coming down, and could hear them coming for ½ hour as they chatted. We smiled when the older scout leader at the end of the parade, dressed as the outback guy, asked us if we had seen any birds and wildlife and lamented his lack thereof when we told him we had seen a few. The odds of him finding anything wild would require the creature to have just broken a wing trying to escape the oncoming hoard. Anyway, again very beautiful on the ascent and descent but we were in the clouds when we reached the peak at about 1500' so nothing to see there. After a day recovery we went east on the trail and visited a neat little dedication high on the hillside overlooking the harbor. It was a small fenced area which if my memory is correct is maintained by the San Diego Yacht Club and dedicated to a couple who obviously much enjoyed Cat harbor. Inside was an old school desk style box on a post and inside notebooks and pens for visitors to record their thoughts and their passage, and just outside a picnic table on a small horizontal piece of land to sit and admire the view. We much enjoyed the area, of Cat Harbour and concluded our stay by going dancing Saturday night at the pub and met an interesting couple Gill and Theresa, she celebrating her birthday. Phoebe says I cannot say what birthday it was, and this type of advice is one of the reasons I have survived to 65. On our way now to Santa Barbara Island.

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We really did see a buffalo
08/10/2011, Little Harbour, Santa Catalina Island, CA

He was big but sleepy

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Reggie
08/10/2011, Little Harbour, Santa Catalina Island, CA

Reg continues to hike up the hill while I decide to rest...

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08/11/2011 | Peter and Donna
Wish I could have been there to drop hot point rocks from my pockets for you to walk on !! ;-)
but I am betting you wore shoes this time around !
08/14/2011 | Phoebe Wilson
Sorry Pete, I was wearing shoes this time
Company
08/10/2011, Little Harbour, Santa Catalina Island, CA

I believe this is a Hutton's Vireo.....but don't quote me

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08/22/2011 | Bill Hickman
Google Godrich. Hit by toronado sunday. One dead. Hir main squarwe.
Bill.

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