As the sun rose over the waters of the Pacific, National Geographic Sea Lion prepared to drop anchor in the Channel Islands National Park for the very first time. An early morning exhale stretch and yoga class onboard readied guests for our exploration of the park’s two easternmost islands, Anacapa and Santa Cruz, by kayak, hike, and expedition landing crafts. These opportunities showcased the terrestrial diversity, marine abundance, and cultural history that make the islands such a unique cornerstone of the California coastline and such a hidden gem of the park’s system.