Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Anacapa island


Inspiration Point, Anacapa Island, Channel Islands National Park
Best Time to Visit: Spring to Early Summer, by summer, the island becomes dry and less colorful, and the sea gulls have left the island, you are left with only the left-over smell of the gulls.
Closest Major City: Los Angeles, CA. The drive to Oxnard Harbor from Los Angeles is about an hour, and the ferry ride to Anacapa Island is about 45 minutes, plus or minus depending on the conditions.

Sea Arch, Anacapa Island, Channel Islands National Park

The pictures here I am attaching are not really the best of Anacapa, since when we visited the island, it was already late of June, and the wildflowers were mostly gone :( and most of the gulls that nested on the island probably had gone back to the mainland already. 

Gulls on a Bed of Wildlfowers, Anacapa Island, Channel Islands National Park
I first heard of Anacapa Island when the Travel Channel featured the Channel Islands National Park as one of the top ten wonders in the American West. Channel Islands National Park is mostly underwater, and it encompasses 5 islands, and one of them is Anacapa Island. The island is very close to California mainland, just 11 miles off from the harbor in Oxnard, yet it feels worlds apart. Really worlds apart, since this place is overshadowed by what is Los Angeles best known for: Hollywood, Universal Studios and Disneyland. It was not a surprise to me at all when I learned several people I know who have lived long enough in Southern California did not even know of this National Park. I do not know if it is good that not a lot of people know about this (then, nature will be undisturbed). However, I believe that the more we seek nature, the more we feel our relationship to the world we live in and our awareness to take care of our surroundings and our natural world strengthens.

Anacapa Island, Channel Islands National Park, CA
The island offers the basic element of Southern California living, that is a combination of hiking, rock climbing, and the ocean. The island is probably uplifted from faulting, thus it has lots of beautiful and rugged arch rocks and caves.

Rocky Cliffs, Anacapa Island
What to See in Anacapa Island: The beauty of Anacapa Island and most of Channel Islands National Park is actually under water, not for corals ( American Pacific Coast is too cold and frigid for corals to grow), but for its kelp forest and wildlife. You will be swimming with sea lions,

Swimming Sea Lion
you may spot or swim with some dolphins ( actually, hundreds followed our boat, it is just amazing to see dolphins jumping around, not one, not two, not ten, not even one hundred, but just a lot when we visited the island),

Dolphins Following Boat
and a lot more of other sea life.
However, since I do not dive nor do I kayak ( I hope to learn how to kayak though, just so I can explore more the ocean), I just content myself with terrestrial visit to this island. But the island, is still teeming with wildlife, the most conspicuous are the gulls and brown pelicans.

Gulls and Hikers on Anacapa Island
Anacapa Island is a haven for sea birds, in fact, middle and West Anacapa are closed for hiking. West Anacapa is home to the largest breeding colony of California brown pelicans. Gulls also nest on the island around April, and fluffy chicks hatch by May and June.

A Baby Gull
Thus, if you want to visit at the height of wildflowers and bird viewing, the best time would be May and early June.

A Family of Gulls

Gulls is Warning You, Do not Come Near :)

Gull Staring At You Like A Soldier
I usually do not see gulls with this very strong stare, as if really closely watching you, but I guess, because at this time of the year, they are protecting their young, their protective spirit shows. This scene below, I kind of laughed when I saw it, the gull somehow just knew where to stand to guard her babies.

Gull Protecting Her Young (below the left side of the sign)
I did not get close to these gulls actually, I stayed on the designated trails. I just used a zoom lens, which for wildlife photography, is still not good enough, but for someone like me who is just enjoying nature, it is already good enough.
Anyway, for those who live close to LA and are thinking of a get-away from the hustle and bustle of city life, Anacapa island awaits you. If you are visiting LA, you may want to add to the usual itinerary of visiting Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Universal Studios and Disneyland, a boat ride to Anacap Island, or explore the other beautiful natural sceneries such as Big Sur and the Sierras. Best time to visit to make the most of your experience is April to early June. For reservation, contact the Island Packers (visitation at Anacapa is limited due to the limited boat rides).
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  1. Those are not the best pictures? The shots are pretty good betchai. I never knew about this island paradise til now. Such a beautiful place!

    The gulls are all over US! haha, i have tons of pictures of them. That one guarding on top the sign's cute. It feels like "you'll regret it if you come close"

    We're the same with photography. I don't have the best lenses but I take photos of anything that interest me along the way.

    Goodnight Betchai!

  2. You must have had a great time visiting this place..and the photos are exquisite! Love the wild flower fields, the rocks, and everything..

  3. It sounds like an awesome place to visit! I especially love your photo of the baby gull!

    I'm pleased to have found your new blog!

    Best wishes,


  4. I have always said of all the places you have shared I would definitely make it to the Grand Canyon. Now I have to add this one to the list. What a beautiful place, and I love that it is part of the our great country. Thank you, as always for sharing with all of us. I use your site by the way, sometimes, as like a virtual field trip for my kids. They love nature.

  5. I really enjoy seeing your pictures. They describe the places your have visited very well.

    Love to see the baby gull. It is so cute.

    Thanks for your sharing.

  6. WOW... you make me drop down my mouth....with this brilliant photography you have here betchai... sorry took me forever to visit you here... would you mind to exchange link with my 2 blogs? message me back if you want so i can add you okay?

  7. What a stunning scenery.. it makes me wanna visit everything you posted here to see it with my own two eyes.... great photography... your a PRO!!!!!

  8. I lived in LA for 35 years and didn't know about that park. I can relate to what you said about people and nature. I used to worry about the natural area I live near being disturbed by so many visitors. But I'm glad people have such places to connect with nature and hopefully they will feel inspired to protect our planet.

  9. gull. First time seeing one. The baby's head is spotted..hehhe.

    Betchai, if you're using Canon's digital photo professional, you can shoot in RAW and convert into JPEG easily. There's accompanying notes to the software that will guide you in using it.

  10. Hi Betchai,

    Wow, you know, the next time I visit out west, I'm going to refer to your blog to find the top places to visit---it's amazing how many places you've visited!

    I didn't know about these islands, but they are definitely a must-see for me the next time I'm there.

    As usual, gorgeous photos!

  11. I had never heard of Anacapa island and am so glad to have seen such pristine beauty away from civilization. The gulls are beautiful and I just want to kiss the baby gull!

  12. I like seeing all of the gulls. They remind me of seeing the geese where I am. The thing that really stood out for me though was the lighthouse in the distance in the first few pictures.

  13. Breathtaking and absolutely beautiful. I just returned from a trip to Monterey and I thought that place may have me beat.


  14. What a pretty place to visit. You are such an adventure.

  15. These photos are amazing. The second one looks like Stonehenge on the water. Of course I love the gulls. Great post and I will be vising LA much more in the coming months so I will try and visit this beautiful island.

  16. Those Gull pictures are great, love the one in the field of red wild flowers.

  17. You always give us so much, and the shots are all great.

    Never heard of this place before, very interesting and the views are fantastic, especially the arched rock formations.

  18. The island is so beautiful. The photos are all great. I like the photo of Sea Arch and the dophins. Excellent post!

  19. KalachuChay:

    Been to Anacapa Island years ago. The sad part was, went there summer, had no idea what to expect, didn't really plan the trip. So to make the long story short - I was so disappointed because nothing there for me to see and it was so hot. It was our fault though ! But seeing your pictures, wow I would love to revisit Anacapa Island again !

  20. What an incredible little island! a paradise fora nature lover!!

  21. Dolphins were at one time my favorite animals.