Come See a Hidden Channel Islands National Park Treasure

Pelican Bay, Santa Cruz Island by Brandon bannister

by Holly Lohuis

Featured image  by Brandon Bannister

Visit Ventura note: With the traditional passenger drop off at Scorpion Anchorage on Santa Cruz Island closed while the National Park Service builds a new Pier, Island Packers is doing something beautifully — and untraditionally — rare. Taking passengers to Prisoner’s Harbor, which links to the astonishingly beautiful Pelican Bay Trail that goes to Pelican Bay. Where a remarkable woman made her life.

Here long-time island lover Holly Lohuis ruminates on Margaret Eaton, immortalized in Eaton’s memoir “Diary of Sea Captain’s Wife”

I sit here in peaceful solitude at Pelican Bay, Santa Cruz Island on steps that remain from a simple resort that was once a very desirable destination for film companies, actors and actresses, and the elite from all around the world back in the days of 1910-1937.

Holly Lohuis Prisoners santa cruz islands

I especially think about the resort’s hostess, Margaret Eaton, and the tenacity it took to raise a daughter and support her husband’s many entrepreneurial ventures (fishing, sealing, rum-running) as she managed and entertained movie stars from Santa Barbara and abroad. In her beautiful memoir “Diary of Sea Captain’s Wife” Margaret shared details of her hardship and her pure joy of living on this beautiful remote island. Her story is a timeless account of the rich natural and cultural history of these beautiful islands.

I especially appreciate that these islands still continue to provide a perfect and very safe escape from all the challenges swirling around in our hearts and minds. Just step back in time and appreciate these island jewels that are open and available for all to enjoy. And more importantly, appreciate all the amazing work being done by so many to restore and conserve this very fragile island ecosystem.

“The true significance of Margaret Eaton’s story lies in its appeal as the personal account of a woman living in a man’s world, in a time and place remote from today’s urban society,”

said Jan Timbrook Associate Curator, Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.

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