Santa Rosa Island, California

Oct 19, 2018 - National Geographic Sea Lion


We awoke to the gentle rocking of the ship, behind the protected northeast bluff of Santa Rosa Island. We were anchored in Becher’s Bay, speculated to have been misnamed after explorer Sir Edward Belcher on coast guard maps since the 1800s. After a delicious breakfast, hikers took to the shore along a variety of trails. The ambitious among us took the long route to have lunch in the shade of the Torrey Pine grove, several miles down the island. Another group marched up through Cherry Canyon to take in the beautiful vistas above the bluffs of the beach. At the landing beach, hikers were able to roam the old settlement, with a meticulously preserved one-room schoolhouse, bright red barn, and livestock paddocks. A quick dip in the aqua blue ocean along the sandy beach was the perfect treat after hiking in the warm sun.

After refueling ourselves with a delicious and hearty lunch, we pulled up anchor and headed to cruise along the northern shore of the islands. We were joined by several pods of common dolphins, who take much delight in riding on the wake of our bow. The ship also passed by thousands of pelagic cormorants flying close to the water’s surface, looking for a delicious meal. As we sipped our sangria and watched the sun set over the islands that we’ve explored over the past two days, we look forward to our next stop further to the south… Santa Catalina.    
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About the Author

Ashley Knight

Undersea Specialist

Ashley was raised in the high desert of Sedona, Arizona and escaped to the sea as soon as she was old enough. She developed a love for the oceans when she began scuba diving as a teenager and this has led to a career intertwined with the sea. Her simultaneous career as marine scientist and undersea specialist have given her opportunities to explore the kelp forests of California's Channel Islands, the coral reefs of the Florida Keys, and the rocky reefs of the west coast spanning from Monterey Bay to the Oregon Coast to British Columbia, the fjords of southeast Alaska, and the ultimate cold water of Antarctica.

About the Photographer

Jonathan Kingston

National Geographic Photographer

National Geographic photographer, climber and diver Jonathan Kingston is a visual storyteller passionate about supporting scientific research and documenting the natural history and human story of our world through photography.  From arresting photographs of vibrant tribal dances to underwater scenes of elephants swimming at sea to 3-D photogrammetric models of submerged archaeological sites, Jonathan’s penchant for travel and love of the wild have taken him to some of the most remote and unmapped corners of the globe.  His work has appeared in print and online in National Geographic, The New York Times, The New Yorker, and The Wall Street Journal.

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