East Anacapa, Channel Islands NP 2023

Ya know, for someone who doesn't necessarily like boats, I seem to be spending an inordinate amount of time on them as of late. I wonder why this is...perhaps it is t accustom myself to the unacceptable? Or perhaps it is a pursuit of the futile?

Probably the latter. For me getting to Anacapa has been just like watching Charlie Brown kick the football from Lucy's hold. I tried to get here with some friends years ago and arrived only to find the trip was canceled. After I decided to try to visit all of the Channel Islands, I booked myself a trip in December. Canceled due to weather. Next rebooking, canceled. Next rebooking, canceled.

Another winter weather system moved through recently and called, and of course they had canceled that day, but the next day was still running. Woke up at 5:30 AM and called, yup, still running. Well...looks like you don't get to take away the football this time!

I drove on down to the port at Oxnard, full camera gear in my pack and, yup, a marine layer so thick you could cut it with a cold butter knife. But so what, so it's not the ideal photography day, but after all these attempts I gotta get to this island.

On the crossing there wasn't much pelagic life on display, but we did see one of the longest strings of brown pelicans flying I've seen, maybe around 25 or so. Landing was fun; this was to be the first landing using the recently installed hydraulic platform installed just a few weeks before. But just as the riskiness of the first Space Shuttle flight, well, the platform wouldn't power up! So we used the tried and true backup...a ladder! No big deal, really.

Though fogged in, the foghorn from the lighthouse still blared regularly to remind you it is there. The island was lush and green, the coreopsis blooming. And...suddenly gulls! Thousands! I had never seen so many gulls in my life. That acrid guano scent permeated the air as if we were stuck in an inescapable new wave band nightmare video. This island is one of the preferred nesting sites for the gulls and brown pelicans as there are no natural predators so they congreate in great numbers and savor the safety.

I hiked all the trails on the island and did wish it was clear to get more views. But at least by the end of the day on the island the fog lifted a bit so we could at least see the arch.

Two campers were left behind. I thought to myself...why would you camp on this island? So small, so little to do? But then I realized...that is precisely why. No one else would be there. What an interesting dichotomy.

Seeing the arch we departed back to the mainland and the little patches of blue sky soon became again a trip surrounded by the mist and the fog. I wonder if the fog is trying to protect us or is just clouding the eyes of those that do not venture forth away from the protective embrace of the shore.

The Photographs

The photos are from the a900 system along with an iPhone mini 12. This was my first time shooting in dense fog, so I do not know how the photos turned out. I spent a lot of time with the longer lens catching gulls and then playing around a little with perspective in the old Coast Guard buildings.

Click "Next" in the upper right to begin.