Ryan's Journal

"My life amounts to no more than one drop in a limitless ocean. Yet what is any ocean, but a multitude of drops?" — David Mitchell

Squids look like fishes

Posted from Santa Cruz Island, Channel Islands National Park, California at 8:47 pm, September 16th, 2013

I slept ten hours last night but still woke up in time for sunrise. This may be an unprecedented sleep event.

This morning’s activity was a hike through a canyon on Santa Rosa island, aka the windiest island in the world (at least it seemed that way). Unlike yesterday we weren’t required to stay with the guide, so Audrey and I got to roam about on our own. The trail led along the beach, up through a canyon, and then over a ridgeline with incredible views and wind that was strong enough to nearly knock us down. It ended at a campground where they’ve had to build permanent windbreaks to prevent tents from blowing away.

Whether because of the wind, the sun, or something else I finished the trail feeling less than one hundred percent, so after the night of much sleeping I returned to the boat and took a two hour nap. The afternoon’s activity was snorkelling in the kelp with garibaldi and myriad other fish. Having only swum with tropical fish before I had no idea what I was seeing while swimming in the cold kelp forest, but nevertheless enjoyed it greatly. Back on the boat we watched the birds and a group of about one hundred sea lions chasing something that was probably delicious a few hundred feet from where we were anchored. The day’s final event began after the captain set up a floodlight on the side of the boat and thousands of small squid came up from the depths to check us out.

The Channel Islands are an interesting place – the land is pretty bleak, but the ocean is full of life and amazing to explore. Tomorrow we’ll do some hiking and hopefully get another chance for snorkelling before braving the choppy ride back to Santa Barbara.

Santa Cruz Island Sunset

Santa Cruz Island Sunset. The tiny black dot is a pelican – they were being highly uncooperative despite repeated requests to come in closer and thus provide a nice silhouette against the setting sun.

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