Saturday, July 18, 2009

Islands in the Stream

The island trip was pretty good. We got a group rate since I went with a dozen other people from work. I took a high school friend, her oldest son, and her husband. They got in pretty late last night because her husband just flew in. We got the air mattress blown up for them, had some happy hour food and drinks to close down the Claim Jumper and got up hella early to hit the boat. The boat went out through the Santa Barbara Channel to Santa Cruz island. The guide on the boat said that about 1/3 of cataloged marine mammals are found in the channel at one time or another but there's a good chance of seeing something.

The boat ride was fairly smooth, but chilly. Thanks again to the scopalomine patch, there was no illness. We saw sea lions and dolphins both directions and the ones on the way back played with us a bit and showed off the baby dolphin! We did the first 3rd of the Nature Conservancy hike with good views with a naturalist guide who was able to tell us what berries were in the fox poop that was all along the trail. On the way back without the bigger group we saw more than a dozen lizards. And my friend did something I found hilarious but not fit for sharing in a google archived page. We joked about it all the way back down to the rocky beach.

My friend's son had brought a shovel to dig on the beach. However, the beach was mostly rocks, not sand. He was pretty disappointed not to be able to dig in the sand and the ranger gave him a good talking to about not digging up the island anywhere else. When we got back to the harbor, there's a good sand beach. He went at it like Mike Mulligan with his steam shovel for about an hour. It was hilarious how much this kid (age ten-ish) was enjoying digging a hole in the sand. After he dug a hole deep enough for him to sit in with barely his head showing, we went off to dinner.

The seafood restaurant was mobbed because there was some pirate festival going on in the harbor that we mostly missed. So we saw some people geared up like pirates of the Johnny Depp kind, not the Somali variety. We finally got seated and had a nice dinner that we plowed through. We're all pretty well done in from the sun and the surf after a nice low key but energetic day.

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