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We're planning this trip and need some advice. Take the boat out to Santa Cruz, spend the night. Paddle over to Anacapa, spend the night. Last day, paddle back to Ventura harbor or Channel Island harbor, which ever would be closer.
How much time from island to island and how much time from island to harbor?
Any nasty currents?
Anything else we should consider?

Thanks for the help.

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Well, I can't quite recall how long the island - island bit is. i've done it three or four times, but every time we got up early, and pretty much spent the whole day doing it, exploring along the way. The backside (west/south) of anacapa is amazing too, but does make for a slightly longer paddle.

As for the crossing, I've done that 5-6 times, from or to Anacapa, and once to Santa Cruz. Anacapa to the mainland always seems easier and faster than the other way. There are currents in there, they can rip along. I've been stuck out there, doing compass navigation in the fog, wondering how far off we'd be, and it's stressful. Recommend GPS. without anything to sight off, compass navigation in the fog with currents is not accurate at all.

Have you been to Anacapa with boats? the landing there can be a bit tricky, make sure you are prepared with slings and such.

I've had the crossing take from a relaxed 3 hours, to a brutal, exhausting 8-9 hours. Entirely depends on weather. Give yourself plenty of time.

Biggest hazard are the ships. There are two major shipping courses in the channel, and the ships move fast. Know where the channels are, and if you see a ship, always aim for the stern. And don't stop. It's not the place to take a lunch break, stop to pee, or practice rescues!

When are you going? Can I come? =>
It would be awesome if you came along.
I'm not sure whether we'll be able to fit it in this summer but for sure next summer. But either way I'll get you the dates as soon as we know. Right now we're just trying to do our homework so we know what we're getting ourselves into. We've been out to Santa Cruz a few times. And we also have to figure out equipment and packing techniques. I figure for food all I need is Poptarts and water. Oh, and trailmix.
Lets see, did I forget anything?
Dude. It's seakayaking. There is no reason to eat like a boyscout on a backpacking trip, especially on a short trip! I like steak, or at least fajitas and tacos and bacon and eggs. There is so much delicious stuff you can make. Most boats have enough room to eat hearty meals, and you'll need/want the calories.

modern backpacking stoves are pretty light weight, and the great thing about Santa cruz is there is water on the island, so you only need enough for one night.

Keep me in the loop, it'd be fun to make some new paddle buddies. I love the place too. Probably my favorite sea kayaking spot, though there are lots of cool places I haven't been yet.

Maybe my wife and I will bring the tandem we're getting soon. (hopefully).
Did this trip ever take? I'm planning on heading out to Santa Cruz for a July 4th getaway. Not brave enough / nor skilled enough to paddle across so I'll take the Island Packers ferry to Scorpion and paddle/hike for 2 days then catch the ferry for a ride back.

In addition to not being skilled, I don't think my 10' prodigy is man enough to handle the open ocean like that.

Any insight would be great - I don't want to get caught in something rough without being adequately prepared.

Thanks for tips.
- Alex

Exploring from the base camp at Scorpion is an awesome way to see the islands. The beach is exposed, and can get a bit rough for landing/launching, but is mostly pretty managable.

Folks have got into trouble out at the islands. PLEASE make sure your boat has plenty of flotation, and can be recovered from a full capsize in deep water, there are many spots out there where swimming to shore is simply not an option. In fact, I'd say that's true of most of the island. And not only that the boat is capable, that you are.

The caves are really neat there, but demand some respect. Whatever roughness exists outside a cave is typically amplified inside, and you don't want a bad scene. Having a wave close you out against the top of the cave could be deadly.

But it's not all doom and gloom! The Islands are one of my absolute favorite palces ot paddle. I've got two trips planned for this year, and might try and squeeze in another. But they are wild places far from help, and that demands attention!
Thanks Geoff - I'm not so sure about getting into the caves, just wanted to enjoy a paddle around the harbor and such. Worst case scenario it's a 2 day trip of perfect hiking. Having lived here my whole life and never exploring the islands (catalina included) i've developed a hankering to go over the last couple years.

My boat has been pretty stable outside the dana harbor but I'll be definitely picking up bow and stern floats before this trip. Didn't mean to give the impression of a complete novice - but no expert by any means. I just wont be crossing the channel anytime soon. Looking forward to a safe trip and I'll be sure to post pix of the trip.

Thanks for the advice! much appreciated!
I agree with Geoff. My buddy and I have camped at Scorpion several times and it is awesome. We throw our kayaks on the Island Packers boat and they charge about $15 for that. From bay is really nice. Head north for the best caves and if it starts to get windy, its easier to head home. If you go south and the winds come up it can be very hard to get back. Bring helmets, flashlights and common sense for exploring caves. And be prepared to have your mind blown!

By the way, we are still planning our trip for this summer. We've been paddling out of Channel Island to the first oil platform and back for training.

If you want an extra paddler on your trip, let me know. I'm taking some classes this year that make it a little tough, but if it's not a class weekend, i'm almost always game.

Be proud to have ya dude!
Thanks Lance - you and geoff have painted quite a picture for me and i'm sure it doesn't even compare to actually being there. One of these days I'll have the time and equipment to paddle across.

Thanks for the input

BTW - are the kayaks fairly secure at the ranger's outpost once you get to the island?

Never had a problem with the boats being messed with. I'd worry about someonr maybe thinking they were "just there to be used" more than a theft. You could easily bring a lock and chain it to one of the signs or something, but I've been out there for nearly 100 days total (many trips, used to guide) and never heard of a problem. Unless someone is going to paddle it back to the mainland, it'd be hard to steal.

That said, I do normally carry my nice paddles and gear back to the camp.
You do have to drag them up off the beach quite a ways. The ranger told us the tide can come up pretty high and every year a few kayaks take off on trips by themselves.




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