Friday, October 21, 2016

OVER THE BOW: THE CHANNEL ISLANDS

Photo by Tom Gomes
Channel Islands National Park are known for their phenomenal beautyl and rugged coastline. Under the protection of US parks service, the five islands and their ocean environments are isolation from the mainland offering a home to unique animals, plants, and geological treasures that can't be anywhere else on the planet. For Sacramento based sea kayaker and photographer Tom Gomes,  the trip to the islands were opportunity to experience and photograph this diverse and incredible national resource.
At nearly a 100 square miles in size, Santa Cruz Island is the largest national park's islands, located off the coast of Southern California. It has three mountain ranges, with its highest peak rising over 2,000 feet above the island. Canyons and streams fill its central valley, while its 77 miles of craggy coastline cliffs  are permeated with giant sea caves, pristine tide pools and expansive beaches that are beckoned to be explored by island visitors. Large colonies of nesting sea birds and different types of animals, including breeding seals and sea lions can be found on the island. During summer there is also a chance to see Blue or Humpback Whales in the deep water off the island's shore.

Access to the island is limited to a ferry or private boat. Island Packers Cruises is the longtime transportation company between the mainland and the five Channel Islands. Their ferries leave from  ports in Ventura Harbor and Santa Barbara.

"This year was unique," said Gomes, "Because the normal loading dock on Santa Cruz Island was condemned after a major storm last year,  it will have to be rebuilt. So, Island Packers Ferry in Ventura loaded our kayaks and takes us to Scorpion Harbor, about a one hour ferry ride. The ferry then anchors about 200 yards from shore and transferred us to small skiffs, about six at a time, ) to take us to shore. Our group of nine then grabbed our kayaks as they were being brought ashore by Island Packers."

They secured and stored their kayaks about 30 yards from the landing and afterwards off loaded their sea bags of supplies and camping gear.

"We had three bags weighing about 35 pounds each," said Gomes,  "We then hauled everything to the campgrounds, except our kayaks, about 1/3 mile and no carts or wheels were allowed."

Gomes and his group from Sacramento Sea Kayaker's enjoyed a five day of camping, kayaking and hiking expedition to the national park last month. Check out more Gomes' stunning kayaking and outdoor images on his Facebook page.

Over the Bow is a feature from Outside Adventure to the Max, telling the story behind the image. If you have a great picture with a great story, submit it to us at nickayak@gmail.com