On our first day exploring the Channel Islands, we woke up before sunrise and could make out shapes looming in the distance. The sun eventually revealed the striking silhouette of Anacapa Island. After a stretching session on the sundeck and a fantastic breakfast, we were ready to explore it.
A large group headed out on hikes, braving the 156 steps up the cliffs. Walking through East Anacapa, we saw an abundance of feathers and bones—evidence that this had been the home of several thousand nesting western gulls just a few months ago. Other guests took to the water, exploring Anacapa by expedition landing crafts and kayaking in the company of California sea lions, harbor seals, cormorants, and a juvenile bald eagle.
During lunch, we made our way toward Santa Cruz Island, anchoring just off Prisoner’s Harbor. There, we enjoyed a variety of hikes around the National Park Service structures and into wild areas where we found endemic island scrub jays and evidence of the endemic island fox (in the form of scat). Meanwhile, the undersea team donned dive gear and jumped into the chilly water where they encountered several invertebrates and fish, including the garibaldi, the California state fish! Capped off with incredible weather and cocktail hour on the sundeck, the first day of our expedition was amazing.