The second day of the Channel Islands was to Anacapa Island. Anacapa is much smaller, with only about two miles of trails which more or less covers the entire island end to end. I guess technically we were on East Anacapa island – it’s all labeled as one island, but there’s an east, middle and west. Maybe they are all connected at low tide – I’m not sure.
Our boat ride over started a bit later and was a smaller boat. We were on the upper deck, but not standing on the bow of the boat, so it was a bit warmer. We did see some dolphins, but not nearly as many as the morning before. The surprise sighting of the day was a mola mola, the biggest, and arguably dumbest, bony fish in the world. This one wasn’t that huge, but happened to be near the surface. Also, much further in the distance, we got to seem some whale spouts – we weren’t close enough to see the whales, but I think, mostly just playing the odds based on the log board in the harbor office, they were likely Minke whales.
As with Santa Cruz, there’s a mandatory orientation when you arrive on the island (I think this is just a National Park Islands kind of thing, they do it on the Manitous as well) where we got a quick rundown of the island and one very critical piece of information on how to ward off any gulls that might get aggressive from the air. The trick is apparently to stick your fist up in the air if you see one, but not to walk around with your fist in the air because that just instigates more attacking. This information seemed to be accurate and was used frequently on the walk around the island.
We started with a quick walk out to the lighthouse and then turned back to walk along the west side of the island. There were gulls sitting on their nests everywhere and squawking constantly as we made our way around the island. Toward the northern end, we discovered that a couple on their honeymoon had carted a very large amount of clothes and equipment (but no photographer) to the island to take pictures on the cliffs. We were around long enough to see them get chastised by the orientation volunteer for getting too close to the cliffs. It’s all relatively loose rock, and not the most stable, so this was a general concern around the entire island, whether or not they were particularly close to the edge.
We had lunch back at the ranger station and ended up wandering a second loop around the island before returning to the dock to catch the ferry back. The wildlife for the ride back was mostly limited to the seals which we specifically went around the island to see (and had also seen from above earlier) and the brown pelicans which followed the boat quite a way out into the channel looking for fish in the wake. We did see a few dolphins, but only at a distance.
Our plans beyond the Channel Islands were a bit uncertain (we weren’t 100% sure we were even going to keep the ferry reservations and go to the islands) but we decided to head north to chain together Sequoia, Kings Canyon and Yosemite. We found a last-minute hotel while on the road, an Americas Best Value Inn in Visalia. I think I can safely bestow the award for worst hotel of the trip. It was a little sketchy, poorly furnished, of questionable cleanliness and, as icing on the cake, the “continental breakfast” was a tray of oatmeal cream pies. The most redeeming quality was that they had an ice machine where we were able to pack the cooler for camping the next several days. Looking back at it now, when I don’t need to find a place to sleep in three hours, the 2.2 star average review on Google would lead one to expect about what we found.