Monday, April 14, 2008

Channel Islands - Prisoner's Harbor

Saturday we were a little apprehensive about going back to Santa Cruz Island. We had shivered through Friday and weren't sure we wanted another day in the fog with nearly identical scenery. But we were down there and had reservations and multiple layers of clothes, so we dutifully bundled up and headed out.

When checking in at the dock, we were warned that the crossing would be slightly rough. Hmm, all I could think was that I was glad I had my ear patch. My mom decided to hold off on breakfast until we were on the way. Since it was Saturday, the routes had changed slightly. The boat was to make 2 stops - first at Scorpion Anchorage (where we were the day before) and then continue on to Prisioner's Harbor. And this time, to take the walk we wanted - over to Pelican's bay - we'd have to sign a sheet to get a permit and stick with the Island Packer's Guide on our hike. Fine, we figure - we did want to do the hike into the Nature Preserve portion of the Island.

The boat was crowded and we had to share our table with 2, seeminly nice people. They were a couple on a trip, from what we could understand, they were with a high school group and they were living in LA, but Korean. They did appear to be part of a group of 30 or so Korean people, however, the group was similar to our seat mates, being made up mostly of late 40 year old couples, and distinctly lacking teens. While they were with us, I did ponder this slightly, but the poor woman didn't do well on the rough water and they spent a good portion of the crossing feeding the fishes.

I had brought along my New Yorker and started out reading and nibbling on a lemon scone. Mom was focused on seeing large marine mammals and was encouraged as the fog had lifted a bit, and she could see for miles. As we topped the waves and dove into their troughs, it wasn't long before I lost my ability to focus on the article I was reading about the possible death of the penny. To calm myself, I noticed that the crew didn't look scared. I bolstered myself by thinking of how they had probably seen rougher seas, and this was just an average day. The guy working the galley explained that the wind had pushed off the fog, giving us a clear day and rough seas. Quite a trade-off.

We got to the harbor, off-loaded most of the passengers and gained an interesting party of 3. As it turns out it was a husband, wife & son from Santa Cruz who had been camping on the Island and were spending the last day on the Prisoner's Harbor side. They were nice. They joined us on the hike. The sun was uber-nature boy, he could recognize the plants and I learned that he had been sleeping under the stars the last 2 nights - sans tent. Much more rugged than I every hoped to be.

As it worked out, the sun was out by the time we landed and it was all much more picturesque. We did the hike, getting privacy on the return portion, as Mom preferred a slower pace than the group was aiming for. Thankfully that pace did get us back in time to catch the boat.

Here at the photos - some of which might seem odd. I didn't quite understand my camera and thought I was using the scenery setting, when in fact I was set to twilight:
Hiking out to Lunch
Pebble beach we passed on the way to lunch.

The Matching Jackets
Dueling Cameras with Mom
Inland View
Lunch View

Saturday ended up much better than Friday. The wilderness more remote with more foliage. After our 2nd day of trekking - we did 6.5 miles on Saturday for a total of 14 miles in 2 days - we headed to the Oyster Bar & Restaurant in the harbor. We started out with just a glass of wine and the next thing we know Mom's talking to the man on her right and the guy on my left tries to use that as an opening to talk to me. He was a more than a bit intoxicated, I was able to quickly and politely turn away when his cell phone went off. With me turned away from him, I think he though he has some privacy, as he proceeded to work out the details of a drug deal for later in the evening. I hope that worked out for him.

Back to hanging with mom and we ordered dinner. I enjoyed a big plate of crab. Though after seeing some of the Discovery Channel's The Deadliest Catch marathon, I do feel a twinge of guilt for enjoying that tasty sea bug. Mom assured me that Crab was not endanger of being over fished... and I believe her. However I did see the Cornelia Marie catch over 1 million pounds in one season. That seemed like a lot. But they are just bugs, right? The world has a lot of bugs.

We crashed again on Saturday night. Sunday we cleaned up, packed up and headed to the Santa Barbara Natural History Museum where were learned about rocks and how we did-in the Chumack Indians. And the Chumack seem like very nice Indians... mostly chilling, farming, fishing and having a good time prior to the arrival of the Missionaries. Bummer.

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