Santa Cruz Island, Willows Anchorage, Channel Islands NP 2018

Earlier this year I had the great opportunity to get to Willows Anchorage with its gorgeous beach, wonderful flowers, astonishing cliffs...and the moment my feet hit land again I looked at my phone and immediately called and got tickets to go again. Everything was already sold out, but I made sure to be a bit insistent and get two tickets; I hoped I could share this magical place with someone. I was lucky enough to still have a friend having survived tough times who was patient and willing to come visit the islands.

The boat left nearly shrouded in fog, but I knew what was up and coming and, happy as a clam, was at the front of the boat, rocking with the waves, skipping like a kid, dancing! We didn't see lots of wildlife on the trip over, but boy was the water rocking and the foghorn of the boat blaring loud and clear, enough so the other boats emerging from the fog knew we were there.

The south side of the island is astonishing. Between the ever changing colors, gorgeous rock formations, arches and caves, the weather still amazes me. While at Scorpion the marine layer was thick and heavy, teh south side was clear and warm. So warm that I wish I had brought lighter clothes! After a beautiful skiff landing on the beach, me and my friend headed off on that hike I had already planned in my memory, going up the ridge on the old road I saw on the maps for as long as we could. Up there it is like California in miniature; every landscape along the coast is all there; you forget you're on an island; but yet it's just ever so slightly different and special!

Upon returning to the shore I went out for a short swim in the gorgeous turquoise waters, nothing like earlier in the year. The taste of the salt water leaking in through the snorkel, the salt left on the skin, getting tangled up in the kelp while swimming, the water was perfect and the afternoon sublime.

With great beer on tap on the boat we all headed back to the harbor. And I had just had a great time with one of my closest friends. It makes me realize that it isn't perhaps enough to find the beauty of a place, it is the act of sharing that gives it importance, prominence, and wonder. I love the islands, I love Willows, and now, just maybe, my friend does too!

Until again, Willows, I thank you; I adore you; we will meet again and, as always, I will return with the eyes of a child to see the new wonder you bring.

The Photographs

Picutres were from the a900 system with the 24-70 lens and an iPhone SE. And, this time, a few shots from a Go Pro from my friend! So funny to finally see myself in pictures!

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