After spending a couple of weeks in Fallon, NV, Toni and I traveled to Point Mugu, CA, about an hour down the 1 from LA. The scenery on the coast was lovely and it was very nice to be staying so near the beach, but what really captivated me were the ghostly shapes of the channel islands on the horizon. For some reason, I’ve always been enamored with islands, finding them incredibly romantic and intriguing. For that reason, as soon as I realized that the islands were there (weeks before arriving as I’d been snooping areas with Google Earth), I immediately began planning an day trip there.
Anacapa is a very small island, one of the smallest in Channel Island National Park, and is in actuality three separate islands. In the winter months, tours are only run out to East Anacapa Island and land at a rather interesting dock with about 150 stairs to the top of a cliff. We rode across the channel on a tour boat chock full of high schoolers who were on their way across to help the NPS try to rid the island of ice plant, an invasive plant that is infesting the island. It’s the NPS’s goal to have all the ice plant off Anacapa by 2016, so a good deal of the color that was present while we were there will be gone eventually. After witnessing how widespread the infestation is, I think that 2016 is a bit optimistic.
Our tour began at the ranger station where they explained the rather uneventful history of the place being a former coast guard station. The one truly amusing story was of the water tanks and how they had to build a house around them so that passers by on boats would stop shooting them. Other than that, it’s a pretty low key place with no source of water to speak of, more seagulls that you can shake a stick at (because there are no trees to source sticks). We walked along an interpretive trail that lead from the ranger station to a place called Inspiration point. Along the way, we peered over the cliffs and every place that we could see stretches of beach, we saw throngs of sea lions sunning themselves, lazing about and occasionally fighting. Quite the show we were treated to and really made me wish that I had glass longer than 70mm with me.
Once we reached Inspiration Point, the reasoning behind the name became immediately apparent. The view was truly astounding and as we walked around the place, we just saw more and more incredible angles of the islands in the midday haze. It was because of the haze that I decided to apply a filter in processing that approximated the effect of shooting on saturated film with a cheap, toy camera. That helped cut the haze and bring out the colors and shapes the way that I saw them in my head standing on that magnificent spot of land.
Moving on from there, we hiked to a place called Cathedral Cove with a stunning overlook of the channel side of the island looking back towards Middle and West Anacapa Islands. Again, it was a stunning view with water so beautiful that you could see down into the kelp forests where the biggest sea lions I’d ever seen were foraging. And once again, I really felt my lack of long glass at that point, but in reality, the angle was pretty poor, so more than likely, the images would have been more for my memory than for any other purpose. Absolutely epic scenery to go along with the playful animals.
From there, we hiked back through the ranger station and headed up to the lighthouse. We were warned not to approach too close to the house and to by no means walk around it as the sound beacon was loud enough to cause instant deafness at close range. So that’s nice. Needless to say, we heeded their advice and wandered around the point a little without getting too close to the horns. That was our last stop on the island and from there we went back to the boat.
The boat took us around the eastern point of the island where we got to take in a pretty epic view of the headland with the lighthouse standing guard over cliffs hundreds of feet tall. We also got to peek up close at the beaches and the sea lions as well as the stone arch for which Anacapa is famous. Then it was just an hour back to harbor and that was that!
Here are a couple of my favorites and the rest can be viewed on my Zenfolio site.