Saturday, May 18, 2019

Painted Cave, Channel Islands Day Trip

Do you remember when I went down to Catalina with BBF back in 2016? Or when I went whale watching off Ventura? (Oh, wait, I neglected to post photos of the latter, so how would you know anyway?)

Yeah, I know. I barely remember last week.

Anyway, Catalina is actually part of California's Channel Islands, an archipelago off the coast of Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and Ventura counties. The northern five of these (not including Catalina) are part of a national park/national marine sanctuary. Not a lot of people get to the national park, and I'd been thinking about taking my tent and heading over sometime. Or even better, doing some kayaking.

But camping alone can be kind of scary (yeah, I'm not scared of much but camping alone always makes me a little paranoid) and kayaking is exhausting and I suck at it. So when I spotted a boat trip to Painted Cave on Santa Cruz, I jumped at it.

The boat leaves from Ventura, and there's a spot nearby to pick up lunch, but I really would have done better by bringing a lunch from Burbank. But it was a busy week at work (it always is) and I had to run over and rent the car the night before, so I ran out of time.

Here's how it works: You show up, check in, then eventually head over to Prisoners Harbor at Santa Cruz island. There were a lot of seasick people on the boat during this crossing. I'm glad I wasn't one of them, but watching other people be seasick made me start to feel queasy.

We dropped people off at Prisoners Harbor, then headed down the coast to Painted Cave.

The boat went into the sea cave as far as it could. I have no doubt kayaking would be a better experience, but this was still pretty cool.

After taking a look, we headed back Prisoners Harbor where we were dropped off to sit for 2.5 hours, and the last half-hour was lining up and boarding the ship again, then heading back to Ventura.

Three hours is a lot to hang out by yourself when you suddenly realize you forgot to bring a book. I ate my lunch, took a short hike, then finally put my head down on a picnic table and napped. There were long-drop toilets on the island.

I was exhausted by the time I got back to the rental car, and while my drive out had gone quickly, the drive home was stop-start typical LA freeway traffic.

Overall, this is a great trip! Prep your lunch in a smart way (or buy one from these guys), bring a sun hat and lots of water, and don't forget your Dramamine for the ride over. The ride back was smoother.

Here are some photos of my journey.