San Miguel Island – Channel Islands National Park

Cuyler harbor san miguel islands channel islandsPhoto: Panoramic view of anchorage at Cuyler Harbor, San Miguel Island, Channel Islands National Park, California.  April 2012

Last week was a double first for me: my first time on a sailboat and more importantly, my first time on the Channel Islands.  Despite looking at the islands nearly every days since I was born, it took me 31 years to finally get out there.  They where always some place that I’d wanted to go but plans never really worked out or I’d head up to the mountains instead.  Well now at least I can say I’ve had a ‘proper’ islands trip.

We left the Santa Barbara harbor on a Sunday at midnight with the compass set towards San Miguel Island and motored the 40 nautical miles by stars and moon.  My buddy Tim and I pulled the 4am to 7am shift.  Taking 20 minute turns at the wheel in the damp, cold night air we navigated by stars until Island fog crept in and then we had to use the moon as best we could to keep position.  Just before dawn, after a six and a half hour crossing, we pulled into Cuyler Harbor which would be anchorage for the day.  The fog cleared just enough for a fantastic sunrise over the Santa Barbara Channel and then I headed back below deck for a little bit more shut eye.

In the late morning we launched the dinghy and headed to shore.  We had an appointment to meet the island’s ranger up at the station and then she led our group on a 3 mile hike out to Harris point.  On the way we saw an Island fox hunting and catching something at a pretty close distance, most likely a mouse, which is a pretty rare sight.  On the way back we also came across two juvenile foxes standing right in the middle of the trail.

We were back aboard the boat by around 5pm and then set sail towards Santa Rosa Island and our nights anchorage at Becher Bay.  More on that and the rest of the trip in the next days…

Cuyler harbor dinghy landing

Photo: Heading to shore on the dinghy for a beach landing, Cuyler Harbor, Channel Islands National Park, California.  April 2012

 

Cuyler harbor beach dinghy landing

Photo: Landing the dinghy on the beach, Cuyler Harbor, Channel Islands National Park, California.  April 2012

 

Northern elephant seal san miguel island

Photo: Northern Elephant Seal pup, Cuyler Harbor, Channel Islands National Park, California.  April 2012

 

San miguel island cuyler harbor beach

Photo: Passing seals on the beach (they where everywhere!), Cuyler Harbor, Channel Islands National Park, California.  April 2012

 

San miguel island cuyler harbor beach

Photo: Looking back towards the beach as the trail begins to climb, Cuyler Harbor, Channel Islands National Park, California.  April 2012

 

Harris point san miguel island

Photo: Scenic view from Harris Point at the end of the hike, Channel Islands National Park, California.  April 2012

2 replies
  1. Justyna says:

    Could you hike there without a guide? Or is it mandatory. Lovely views and I would like to walk so closely to seals…

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