November 9 – 16
Before Bijan and I went to San Diego, I was still wearing shorts everyday and enjoyed temps in the 70s. It felt like when we returned from our trip, the weather had changed to fall. We needed jackets in the morning and at night, and we started driving to work because it was too cold for us to enjoy biking. Now we understand when Californians say it’s a different kind of cold. We found ourselves talking about how cold it was when it was 55 degrees even though we are used to temps below freezing in New England. Maybe it’s because we are expecting it to be warm, that it effects us differently!
We worked on Monday, but had planned a day trip for Tuesday out to one of the Channel Islands, off the coast of Santa Barbara. I didn’t know the Channel Islands existed until we decided that we were taking an assignment here. When we first arrived in Santa Barbara, we couldn’t see the islands due to the smoke, but once they appeared in the distance on the horizon I had my heart set on making it to at least one of them. Just across the Santa Barbara Channel, this national park consists of 5 undeveloped islands to protect the plants and animals that call the islands home.
Two of the islands, Santa Cruz Island (the largest at 22 miles long) and East Anacapa Island are easily accessible by ferry from Ventura and have hiking trails. The other three islands are more difficult to access and are protected for wildlife. The park extends a mile in each direction in the ocean, and has kelp forests that have ample marine life and great scuba diving opportunities.
We woke up early Tuesday morning and said good-bye to Charley (our dog walker was going to visit during the day) and hit the road to Ventura harbor, about 30 minutes south on the coast. We have done this drive several times now, and every time we turn the corner in Montecito and the ocean appears directly in front of us, it takes our breath away. That day, the ocean was calm and glassy, and the air was clear, we could see our destination out on the horizon.
We arrived at Ventura Harbor and checked in for our ferry ride. We boarded the boat and were surprised how many other people were headed out to the islands on a Tuesday (everyone was required to wear a mask for the entire trip). Once we boarded, we discovered that the boat ride was not only transport to the islands but also a wildlife tour, which made the trip each way about 1.5 hours.
Shortly after we pulled out of the harbor, we passed a bunch of lazy California sea lions basking in the sun on a buoy. They reminded us so much of dogs – they look so friendly, playful and lazy. We joked that the one on the left was looking at us like Charley does when she is waiting for us to feed her dinner!
As we got closer to the islands, the boat came across a mega-pod of dolphins, which is a pod of more than 1,000. There were dolphins gliding and jumping in and out if the water in every direction, some right next to the boat and some far in the distance. It was one of the coolest things I have ever seen, almost surreal!
East Anacapa Island, our destination, is 12 miles off shore. This quaint little island is 1.1 square miles and has about 2 miles of hiking trails. The Channel Islands were formed from volcanoes and have been eroded by waves creating steep cliffs, sea stacks, sea caves and arches. They are home to many sea birds, most notably the brown pelican, and serve as a resting place for the sea lions.
Once we disembarked, we headed up toward Inspiration Point, one of the most beautiful views on all the islands. This lookout overlooks the other 2 islands that make up Anacapa- Middle & West- and Santa Cruz Island in the distance. The view was more stunning in real life than in the photos below. We sat down to have lunch so we could take it in for a while.
We continued our walk, heading over to Pinniped Point, where we looked over a steep cliff, admiring the sea lions basking and turquoise water swirling below.
We walked up towards the lighthouse, warning boats of Anacapa’s rocky shores since 1932, where we stopped for a quick photo
Before we made our way back to the pick-up point we circled back to Cathedral Cove to watch the brown pelicans fly in and out, and sea lions swim around in the water below.
Arch Rock as seen from the ferry on the way back!
The boat ride back was chilly, and once we arrived back in Ventura, we were ready for some warmth and food! We hopped in the car and zoomed back to Santa Barbara, where we got some teriyaki chicken and rice to fill our bellies, and then circled back home to snuggle with our pup.
Wednesday morning, we woke up feeling a bit run down. We can’t complain about all of our awesome adventures, but between traveling and work, we were tired! We decided to take it easy and have a restful day. Our big excursion of the day, we decided, was to use the inflatable kayak that had been sitting in our yard for the past month. Our friends who had left town borrowed this from another travel nurse, and we had planned on getting some use out of it before giving it back.
We inflated the kayak and brought it down to the Santa Barbara Harbor boat launch. Bijan paddled us out around the harbor towards the wharf and back while my job was to keep Charley from jumping out of the kayak. We didn’t make it far but it was a fun little activity and the weather was perfect. See some photos below:
With our upcoming 3-day weekend, we decided to stay local and explore around SB.
Saturday consisted of grabbing sandwiches from South Coast Deli (so good!) and hanging out at Butterfly Beach in Montecito with Maggie, Brandon and all of the pups.
Saturday evening, we biked to Jamie Slone Winery down off of State Street, and afterwards we went to a game store and got a few games to play. We biked back to our place with our friends to enjoy the new string lights in our backyard, played a game (I won!) and ordered some pizza.
Sunday morning, we went for a stroll on the boardwalk with Charley, and then we loaded the bikes onto the bike rack and drove south on the 101 to Rincon State Beach to bike on the bike path along the ocean.
On Monday, we ventured over the Santa Ynez mountains and into the valley to Cachuma Lake, about 30 minutes drive from our place in Santa Barbara. The recreation area has a campground, disc golf course and marina among other activities. We rented a boat with Maggie, Brandon and the pups for a few hours in the afternoon. It was a sunny 85 degree afternoon, and perfect weather to coast around on the lake. The pups enjoyed it too! After boating, we played a quick round of disc golf and grabbed a bite to eat before hitting the road. Swipe through to see some photos of our afternoon on the water!
Also, be sure to check out Maggie and Brandon’s YouTube channel, RV There?, about their life living in an RV! Click the link below to check it out:
Feeling fortunate to have had some great adventures on our days off! Now time to go back to work!