Channel Islands Crossing: Day Six – Travel to San Miguel

Posted Feb 12, 2012 in Blog

February 11, 2011

I awake this morning feeling good.  I am happy when I realize I have a day off from paddling.  Yesterday was the toughest channel crossing so far.  I am feeling confident that this adventure to cross all the channels will be successful. We are setting sail for the Northern Islands today.  I will be connecting the Northern Islands to Southern Islands on my final crossing.  Our main concern shifts from sharks to a forecasted weather change. The winds will be shifting direction in two days.  I understand that I need to paddle all the North island channels tomorrow in a single day.

We are heading to Santa Rosa Island.  It is going to take us about eight hours to get there. It is another beautiful day.  We are crossing paths with huge ships.  Chris is concerned because these ships are not in their normal shipping Channel. We don’t know why.  They are huge.  The one that is passing us now is about 1000 feet long and traveling at about 18 knots.













We have made it to Santa Rosa safely.  It is the second largest island in the Channel Islands.  It is located about 26 miles off the Coast of Santa Barbara, California.  We are looking for a place to anchor .  There are elephant seals everywhere.













We have decided to go ashore and get some lifestyle photos and touch land.  This is the only day that I am not paddling.  Ryan and Shelly are packing their camera gear in waterproof bags.  I am getting my Vitamin A swimsuits and coverups ready. John is getting a board ready to go standup surfing.  Chris is getting the Zodiac ready to take us to shore.  Chris takes Ryan first and they make it safely through the waves.  Shelly and I are next.  He tells us that going in is easy but coming back out we might get wet.  We are riding in through the waves and all of a sudden a bigger set starts to wipe us out.  The seat in the Zodiac falls down and Shelly falls on her back in the bottom of the boat.  We are getting washed around and she can’t get up because her camera bag is so heavy.  I am holding on to handles on both sides of the boat and trying to surf the boat in.  I look back at Chris and he is no longer in the boat.  He jumped out to try and keep the boat from flipping.  We are in shallow water now and Shelly and I see an enormous Elephant seal coming right for us.  We both jump out of the boat and run up the beach.  We have ditched the boat and Chris.   We did not realize that the boat is getting swamped with water and the gas tank is almost completely under water.  Chris yells for help and we make it in time to pull the boat up the beach.  Chris was not very happy with his crew.

There are elephant seals all over the beach.  We keep a safe distance and they don’t seem to worried about us.  Occasionally one runs at us… reminding us not to get too close.  Shelly and Ryan set up to take some photos and video.  John and Chris are having a great time catching waves.

Photo By: @Shelly Strazis






















It is time to get back to the boat. We still have to motor to San Miguel where we will be anchoring for the night.  Chris is going to take us back out through the waves one at a time.  We are a little anxious to get back in the Zodiac after our experience going in.  I get in first and we have to time the waves.  Chris floors the motor to make it over a wave that is jacking up.  We launch up and over the wave and catch some air.  It was scary but fun at the same time.  Shelly is growing more nervous as she watches from the beach. We all make it back safely and start heading for San Miguel.












San Miguel is the Westernmost of the Channel Islands and the sixth largest.  The island gets beaten with Northwesterly winds and severe weather from the open ocean.   I will be starting my channel crossing from here in the morning. We arrive at San Miguel as the sun is setting and anchor safely.





One Comment So Far...

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August 30, 2016 7:59 am

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