Santa Rosa & San Miguel

Oct 07, 2019 - National Geographic Sea Lion


As we have continued our journey through the Channel Islands National Park, we have discovered the unique story that each island here has to offer. Today we sailed towards the islands of Santa Rosa and San Miguel, the westernmost islands of the National Parks. Our morning began on Santa Rosa, the third largest of the islands with a rich history in both ranching and archaeology. Guests landed along the dramatic sandstone cliff faces that line the beach here to explore the hiking the island has to offer. Some took an adventurous hike to the rare Torrey Pines that grow only on Santa Rosa and near San Diego while others ventured into Cherry Canyon to learn about the diverse mosaic of native plants that have colonized and evolved over time. With some extra time, we were also able to paddle and swim before returning to the ship for lunch. Later in the day we continued our journey westward towards the island of San Miguel. This island is notoriously difficult to approach because it lies closest to the open Pacific Ocean and is exposed to extreme ocean swell. Luckily, for us, the conditions were calm and allowed us to sail close to the shoreline. We got close enough to see the spectacle that this island has to offer – hundreds of pinnipeds hauled out on the sandy beaches. northern elephant seals, California sea lions, and harbors seas utilize these isolated beaches as resting spots and mating colonies throughout the year. Together, these two islands added to the powerful story of isolation and conservation that the Channel Islands continue to tell us.

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About the Author

Alex Krowiak

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

A childhood surrounded by the woods and streams of Pennsylvania initially sparked Alex’s curiosity about nature. That curiosity eventually led him to pursue degrees in biology and environmental studies at Boston College. During his time there he conducted research on carnivorous plants in Iceland and kelp forests in South Africa. Together these diverse experiences provided him with the background and passion to become a teacher. 

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