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.