A whole other world to adventure awaits visitors in the waters of the marine sanctuary surrounding Channel Islands National Park. Over thousands of years, the ocean has carved out a series of sea caves under stunning cliffs that are perfect for visitors seeking a touch of adrenaline. This paired with up to 100-feet visibility, swaying kelp forests, and playful sea lions, makes for an amazing kayaking experience.
There are three options available for kayaking at the Channel Islands Adventure Company. Visitors with personal kayaks can choose to bring them on their trip assuming they comply with Channel Islands Adventure Company guidelines. Visitors with kayaking experience who wish to explore the islands on their own may choose to rent kayaks from Channel Island Kayak Center. All of their kayaks comply with Channel Islands Adventure Company guidelines. Visitors who prefer a guided kayak tour may book a tour with Channel Islands Adventure Company. All kayaking adventures must be booked in advance as space for kayaks is limited and must be confirmed with Channel Islands Adventure Company.
Visitors are reminded that you have to pack in all water, food, and snacks to the island – and pack off any trash and containers brought onto the island. Be sure to check out Channel Islands Provisioners for prepacked meals and water for our trip! Whether you are spending the day or camping at the islands – Channel Islands Provisioners has the highest quality in artisanal locally sourced foods delivered directly to the boat. Orders need to be placed in advanced, which is easy to place on their website.
The most convenient option for tourists wanting to explore the crystal-clear waters of Channel Islands Marine Sanctuary in a hassle-free way, is to sign up for an all-inclusive guided tour with Channel Islands Adventure Company. Here’s what you can expect:
After a short boat ride with Channel Islands Adventure Company, paddlers will land at Scorpion Anchorage on Santa Cruz Island and find a spot at Channel Islands Adventure Company’s base where guides will show paddlers where storage lockers, nearby bathrooms, and kayaking equipment are located. Channel Islands Adventure Company guides will give everyone a wetsuit (sized according to the information provided through the reservation), helmet, life vest, and booties, to change into prior to kayaking. Belongings may be stored in the storage lockers to prevent island foxes and clever crows from rummaging through them. Guides will also perform a brief demonstration of basic kayaking techniques for a safe adventure. Paddlers can help the group get to kayaking faster by using the bathrooms aboard Channel Island Adventure Company’s boat before landing at Santa Cruz Island, and wearing a bathing suit under their clothes to ease changing into a wetsuit.
Once everyone is suited up, it’s time to explore the kelp forests and sea caves that surround Scorpion Anchorage. Paddlers will be guided into the water by Channel Islands Adventure Company guides who are also naturalists trained to spot wildlife and unique species or rock formations to ensure paddlers make the most of their trip. They will be sure to point out fun facts about the island’s geology, ecology, or natural and cultural history -that is while they’re not guiding paddlers through sea caves and tunnels with crashing waves and hidden sea lions. All caving is optional and subject to marine conditions. For paddlers who choose not to enter the caves, crystal clear waters with visibility up to 100-feet and flowing kelp forests will entertain.
After kayaking, those left wanting an even closer look at the marine sanctuary’s magical underwater world are welcome to stay in their wetsuits and pick up snorkeling gear. Masks, snorkels, fins, hoodies, and wetsuit tops are provided, and swimmers are likely to see seals, bat rays, octopus, and fish nearby Scorpion Anchorage beach. Others may choose to explore a couple of the miles of hiking trails around the island before their return trip to Ventura. Cavern Point is a short 45 minute loop that provides spectacular views of sea cliffs and Anacapa Island. This 1.5 mile hike has a small ascent to the bluff but remains relatively flat once hikers reach the top.
It is a great idea to bring a camera to snap memorable moments during this island adventure. However, only waterproof cameras will be allowed on kayaking tours. For those who don’t have waterproof cameras, Channel Islands Adventure Company guides have cameras and aim to take pictures on each tour. They then post their photos online where you’re welcome to download them.