Channel Islands National Park

Kayaking on the Channel Islands

Growing up in the Bay Area in California I have always had a love affair with the ocean. When I was 19 I was lucky enough to transfer schools and attend university in Hawaii. It was a dream come true and I’ve never stopped missing my home in paradise since I left it. After we left the desert, and started heading for the coast, my anticipation for the ocean was intense. We couldn’t get there fast enough! As soon as I saw the water, my soul was ignited and all the familiarity of “the ocean way of life” came rushing back to me. I felt like I was coming home; I could breathe easy again (mostly because I wasn’t afraid of tarantulas and snakes and everything evil trying to kill me every step I took.) I really did love the desert, don’t get me wrong, but it was starting to make me feel shriveled and crunchy. I didn’t realize how much I had missed this air. I sound dramatic (Cees would definitely say I’m being dramatic haha) but I can’t deny it; I need this!

Cees and Gorby (aka Vladimir Kitten, but half of the time we call him Gorby, short for Gorbachev) unloading the gear for the island adventures! We left from the Ventura harbor for just a day trip to Anacapa Island.

Building Oru Kayaks on the Channel Islands

100-million fourth graders also had the same idea as us. It was pretty hilarious watching them. At first I thought I was going to be sea sick, not from the boat, but from the kids’ constant movement and inability to sit still for a millisecond. But, once I got my sea legs under me, I was fine and able to just watch and enjoy their wonderment. Every time the captain stopped the boat to show us the wildlife, I thought at least 20 kids were going to pitch themselves overboard from sheer excitement. I have to admit, it was pretty magical. I love dolphins! I decided they are my spirit animal. Facebook reminded me that on this day exactly 5 years ago I swam with wild dolphins in Hawaii!

Ready to go paddling!

When we docked and got off the boat, one of the guides told us that everywhere on the island is cliffed out and we would have to lower our kayaks into the water on this pulley system off of the dock. It was at least 20 feet high, which was a little daunting.

Dry camera gear Oru Kayak

We love our Oru kayaks. They have worked perfectly for us on our trip with our limited space. Luckily we are able to store both of them in one of our Yakima skyboxes, which is awesome. We’ve gotten pretty good at setting them up and it only takes us about 7-10 minutes normally to get them all ready to launch! They are so light and manageable when they are folded up in their handy backpacks, which is the best part because you can easily pack them onto more remote islands or mountain lakes. Even though they’re folding kayaks, they’re very water tight (we’ve never had a leak) and very durable (they are rated up to 25,000 folds and have no problem rolling over the occasional sharp rock or rough beach. These things have expanded our playground and we are so stoked about it.

Dropping kayaks into the ocean

I have no pictures documenting what happened in between these two photos, but let’s just say there was a lot of panicked screaming and tears (on Cees’ part…just kidding, it was all me.) It doesn’t look like it, but the waves were pretty heavy right under the dock. I was trying to fasten my skirt all around me with one hand while holding onto my escaping paddle and the dock ladder with the other hand, all while waves were slamming me into the dock and sharp rocks. I had to go first and cling onto the ladder because Cees needed me to secure his kayak until he could climb down. It was chaotic and took about 30 minutes to launch. I was so glad once we were finally settled into our kayaks and paddling off to the caves.

Kayaking Channel Island Sea Caves

The sea caves were so cool and mysterious to us. To be honest, we were a little scared to go in them because it was SO dark in there. We had to be careful and only pick caves that had a good clearance so we wouldn’t smack our heads or faces.

The Love of Kayaking

Sometimes when we go hard all day every day we get pooped out. I guess I fell asleep like this for 2 hours before we mustered up the energy to get out and paddle and explore the caves more.

Paddling Kayaking the Pacific Ocean