September, 2005 was the 25th anniversary of the creation of the Channel Islands
National Park, as well as the designation of the Channel Islands National Marine
Sanctuary
. To publicize this anniversary, a contingent of media folk took
the RV Shearwater to Santa Cruz Island. Our specific destination that day was
the Painted Cave region towards the western end of the large island. This photo
shows our beginning in Santa Barbara harbor, the Shearwater’s home port.

Leaving the harbor we pass Stearn’s Wharf
with views of the Santa Ynez Mountains behind the city.

The Santa Barbara Channel is great for whale watching with numerous species
making it their permanent home. Oothers use it on their migration between southern birthing areas and summer feeding in the north. Whale watching tours are
very popular. You may call or check vendor web sites for schedules and the
likelihood of spotting whales during your visit. On this trip we did not encounter
whales but we were escorted by a pod of dolphins. They never fail to thrill.

This pod of dolphins amazed us with their grace and energy.

We arrived at Santa Cruz Island which was shrouded in dense fog.

Soon after our arrival the fog moved offshore and
we lowered the Zodiak to explore Painted Cave.

With the sky clearing we had a great view of the island’s rocky coastline.

These remote cliffs are home to numerous birds.

The RV Shearwater is the Marine Sanctuary’s new 62' high-speed Teknicraft
catamaran. It is used as a research platform, conducting biotic and abiotic
oceanographic research in the waters of the Santa Barbara Channel. It is also
used for public education programs. Check out the Channel Islands
National Marine Sanctuary Link on the right side for details and to
see how you may volunteer to assist their operations.

This is a dramatic view of the RV Shearwater from inside Painted Cave.

We took turns going into Painted Cave. Due to our tight schedule we
were not able to spend much time exploring. Still it was a special experience.

The Zodiak is being lifted back into the boat
for our return to Santa Barbara Harbor.

Santa Cruz Island is about 20 miles from Santa Barbara.
It is always fun to see Santa Barbara “growing” as we approach home.

This is the Santa Barbara Breakwater which provides shelter
for the harbor. It is also a popular stroll. And a bit exciting
when the waves break over the unsuspecting.

Santa Barbara Harbor
Dolphin en route to Channel Islands
Approaching misty Santa Cruz Island
Acropolis Athens Greece
RV Shearwater off Santa Cruz Island
Journalists in Zodiak
Returning to Santa Barbara Harbor from Channel Islands
Stern’s Wharf Santa Barbara
Dolphin pod escort for RV Shearwater
Zodiak approaches Painted Cave Santa Cruz Island
Acropolis Athens Greece
View of RV Shearwater from inside Painted Cave
Hauling Zodiak aboard RV Shearwater
Santa Barbara Breakwater
  Santorini, Greece with Royal Caribbean Cruises  

Links

Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary

Channel Islands National Park

Truth Aquatics service to Channel Islands out of Santa Barbara

Island Packers service to Channel Islands out of Ventura Harbor

Tom Buhl Travels

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