Kayaking at Channel Islands National Park + cute Island Foxes (#17/419)


(upbeat music) – Welcome to the Channel
Island National Park. This is unit number 17 on our
journey to visit them all. (upbeat music) To start this journey, we stayed at Emma Wood Beach
State Park here in Ventura. And then we caught a boat at 9 A.M. in the morning from Ventura Harbor on to the Santa Cruz Island. So, we are spending here 2 days camping on Santa Cruz Island. (upbeat music) (upbeat music) Channel Islands National
Park consists of 5 islands off of California coast near L.A. The Santa Cruz Island
is the biggest island of the 5 islands. – [Matt] The islands are accessible only by boat or plane. Either operated by the
park or privately run. We chose to take the 1 hour
long Island Packers Ferry ride from Ventura Harbor to Santa Cruz Island. If you want to stay overnight you must have a camping reservation. – Channel Islands is sometimes called as the Galapagos of North America. This is because they
have 150 endemic species that are not found anywhere else. So, for example, small island foxes. They are a much smaller
version of the foxes on the mainland. The Island foxes are smaller
because of island dwarfism. Which is a phenomenon also
found on other islands. So, once we arrived we
took the kayaking tour that we had booked ahead of time. We did a 3 hour tour and we
saw some awesome sea caves. (upbeat music) (water swooshing)
– [Matt] The great thing about being in the back-
I can stop paddling and you don’t know. (laughter) Elephant! See it? – [Diana] The elephant? – [Matt] Yeah. The furthest part is
the trunk coming down– – Yeah, yeah I see it. – and then the eye. – So get nice and close
to me and grab some kelp. Kelp’s going to be a really
helpful tool for us today. It is anchored to the bottom. We’re here at the elephant’s belly. There were never any elephants
out here on Santa Cruz but there were once distant relatives. Any one know what used to
lumber around out here? – [Diana] Mammoth? – Pygmy mammoths. – [Matt] There are no elephants
on the Channel Islands but piggy mammoths used to live here. Found nowhere else in the world. About 20,000 years ago when
the sea level was about 300 feet lower than it is
today and the distance to the mainland was about 6 miles. A small group of 14 foot
tall 20,000 pound Columbian mammoths swam to the island towards smells of abundant vegetation. Over time they evolved into a
new species, pygmy mammoths. They were 4.5 to 7 feet tall and weighed only about 2,000 pounds. The worlds first virtually
complete pygmy mammoth skeleton was discovered on the
Channel Islands in 1994. (Waves sloshes) (Squealing) – [Matt] Refreshing, isn’t it? (laughter) – [Diana] Definitely! (wind blows) – [Matt] Right, let’s power on. Get through this. – [Diana] Okay. (wind blows)
– [Matt] Right, left, Right, left, right, left, right, left, Santa Cruz Island has 77
miles of craggy coastline and a lot of sea caves. It is home to one of the largest and deepest such caves in the world. Painted cave, which is found on the northwest coastline of Santa Cruz. The name comes from the colorful rock types, lichens, and algae. Painted cave is nearly a
quarter mile long and 100 feet wide with an entrance of 160 feet high. We didn’t see painted cave on this trip but it is a good reason to come back. (wind blows) (water sloshes) (upbeat music) (wind blows) – [Diana] How’re we doing? – Good. – [Guide] Under ideal
conditions this stuff can grow a couple feet, it
can grow 2 feet in a day. That means that if it was
a perfect day out today this stuff wasn’t even
formed when you were parking your car in the harbor. Which is pretty insane to think about. But I did say it is edible. So if you want just go
ahead and take a bite. It does takes like salty
cabbage so be warned. – [Matt] Kelp, is a type of seaweed. And of the 27 groups of kelp worldwide 9 are represented in the park. – [Guide] It’s pretty awesome. – Want to try? – [Guide] But one other
thing that I really like about it is seals, those of you who were around earlier I identify strongly with seals because they are beautiful lazy animals. – [Matt] It doesn’t taste
much at all, to be honest! – [Diana] It’s not as salty
as I thought it would be. – [Matt] I’d imagine the salt in the water are in kelp. – [Diane] Yeah, probably yeah. – [Matt] Ah, I just poured
water all down my arm. – (laughter) (upbeat music) – [Matt] Ready? – [Diane] Yeah – [Guide] Yep, straight back. Very good. – [Diane] Ah a rock (water swooshing) (cheering) – [Guide] Beautiful! Paddle straight towards me. And then turn that way. – [Matt] Thank you. – [Diana] Thank you. – [Matt] Our goal is to
explore, not just visit every single National
Park unit in the U.S. That means trying to
find ways to experience each national park the best we can. And at Channel Islands,
that means kayaking. This was the first time we’ve ever kayaked through sea caves. And it was a lot of fun! (sea gulls chirping) (water swooshing) – [Diana] Backwards, backwards. (upbeat music) – So this is the last
little thing we have for ya on the west end. Like I said, Marge! Marge is a giant up, if you look straight but it’s an S so you’ll need to be on your rudder, gang. (water swooshing) – [Guide] Having fun? Yeah, go for it! (people cheering) (water swooshing) – [Guide] Great job, guys! – [Matt] Thank you. – [Guide] Go ahead and join
the group, right on over there. – [Diana] It’s probably a
lot more fun if you know which wave it’s gonna do. – [Matt] Yeah, you were away for it. – [Diana] Yeah. That was fun. – [Matt] Heading back past
Scorpion Anchorage we paddled a little further east,
but still stayed within the Scorpion Marine Reserve. The tide was low, and we
were able to see marine life in the tide pools. (upbeat music) – [Guide] Does anyone feel brave enough to touch the sea anemone,
get a little sting from it? Anyone wanna try? It doesn’t hurt, I promise. It’s skin is too thick,
so it’s too thick to latch on to our skin. (groovy music) – Here if we gave you wasn’t fancy enough, this is called egregia but it’s
common known as feather boa. So if you need to spice it up a little. So feather boa, yeah feather boa is another type of brown kelp. It has air bladders like
the giant brown kelp but they’re just mixed in. Do you want to feel it? – So you can surf here forever, for a month without a side that’s fun. – [Diana] Are we going in? – [Guide] Yes, nice and slow. Turn, turn, turn, turn. Aim for me. What you’re gonna do, you’re gonna turn, you’re gonna paddle hard, and
shift your paddle last second. Aim for the right hand side. Paddle hard and shift your
paddle last second, ready go. (crash) (guides yelling) (crash) – I also scratched my hand
because my hand because as we went through one of the caves I accidentally touched the walls. So I got a barnacle
scratch, but it’s okay. It’s all healed past. After the kayaking tour, we
got to our campsite, had lunch, set up our campsite, relaxed for a while, and then had dinner. In order to make this trip
work at these particular dates we were able to book the boat that comes here on the Tuesday
and leaves on the Thursday, but then for the camping
situation we actually had to book one campsite for one night
and then one campsite for the second night because
there was no campsites left open for two night in a row. But it’s okay, it’s also
here very important to leave all the food in the fox boxes because they are very smart here
and they can figure out how to get to the food and the ravens here they
can even open the zippers, so it’s very important to keep the food in the provided boxes. – [Diana] So what are we
having for dinner tonight? – Tonight’s special is pasta, the finest Trader Joe’s pasta, with the finest Trader
Joe’s diced tomatoes, and I don’t know if these are fine or not but some Vienna sausages. – [Diana] And you found those
at Trader Joe’s as well? – No. I had to make a special
trip to Vonn’s for those. – [Diana] And the dinner
is cooking right here. Matt was impressed by my stove handling abilities and skills. – [Matt] I always want
to hate these stoves because they look so flimsy and ridiculous but admittedly it is burning
and it is pretty windy and it’s making my food
hot, so I’m not gonna rate them badly. – [Diana] What do you think? – Tastes like pasta with
tomato sauce and sausages. – [Diana] But it tastes better
because we worked for it? – I rode a lot today for this. – [Diana] Good morning. It’s
day two on Channel Islands. What are we having for breakfast? – This morning I have my oatmeal with some trail mix and some honey. It’s a pretty good breakfast. A bit simple, it’s washin up
pretty quick, and it’s warm. That’s the main thing. – For the hike for today, we are hiking to the Smuggler’s Cove. It’s about seven and a
half, eight mile hike, and you can go over the
ridge and then go down to the beach on the other side
of the part of the island. (groovy music) – [Diana] So right now we
are almost on the ridge and here at the bottom
you can see the valley, that’s the bathrooms
before the campground, that’s the campground, and that’s the other end of the bathrooms. (groovy music) Here at the other side of the ocean, you can see the Santa Monica mountains. Where we were just a few days ago. (groovy music) – [Matt] Although the Channel Islands weren’t known about by
modern explorers until 1542, when Juan Rodriguez
Cabrillo sailed through. He found the islands inhabited
by two to three thousand Chumash people in 21 villages across the three northern islands. Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, and San Miguel. Radiocarbon dating of fire
areas, burnt bones, and firepits shows human habitation dating back as far as 37,000 years ago. Rolling the clock forward
to the 20th century and two of the islands,
Santa Barbara and Anacapa were designated as a
national monument in 1938. On March 5, 1980, the
Channel Islands National Park was formed by combining the
existing national monument with three more islands. San Miguel, Santa Rosa, and Santa Cruz. The area is further protected by the Channel Islands
National Marine Sanctuary, an area which extends out
six miles around the islands. And as if that wasn’t enough, the entire Channel Islands National Park plus the remaining three channel islands were designated as a
UNESCO Biosphere Reserve just like Organ Pipe Cactus
National Monument in 1976. – These flowers are taller than me. (groovy music) – So we are about three
quarters through with our hike. We just came from the Smuggler’s Cove and now we are gonna head
back to the campground via the Scorpion Canyon Loop. So as we descend into the Scorpion Canyon, the vegetation is getting
thicker and closer to the trail. So we are just hoping we are not finding any poisonous plants here. – There is one poisonous
plant on this island, I overheard the ranger
saying this morning. What I didn’t hear is what that plant was, what it looks like, or
what it does to you. So I’m just hoping it’s not the stuff that’s rubbing against my leg now. Fingers crossed. – [Diana] It’s a quite
beautiful view though. Okay so we have a debate.
Is this Poison Oak or not? Because it’s so close to the trail. – [Matt] Or is it poisonous or not? – [Diana] Yeah, is it poisonous or not? And is it Poison Oak or not? My vote is not, but it
could be an island variety. – [Matt] Keep watching
to find out the answer, when in five days we’ll see if my legs are bright red and puffy. (groovy music) – [Diana] We are almost back at the camp. This is the group camping
site at the Upper Scorpion. We have arrived back at the campground, and now we are setting
ourselves up at Site 2. The tent is set up, and now
we are about to make dinner, and then we’ll hopefully
do an evening sunset hike. – [Matt] The island fox
nearly became extinct in the 1990s. But the population has rebounded, thanks to conservation efforts. In fact, there are six
species of island fox in the Channel Islands, each unique to the island it lives on,
but two islands have no foxes. And as always, in all national parks, feeding the animals is not allowed. Island foxes and ravens
on Santa Cruz island are capable of opening zippers. So do not leave any food, trash, or scented items unattended. – [Diana] So what do we
have for dinner tonight? – Tonight we are having
boil in the bag rice with canned vegetables and some tuna. – [Diana] Looks pretty
good, how does it taste? – Actually pretty good! – [Diana] How does it taste
after eight miles of hiking? – Amazingly good. Keep filming, then I can keep eating. (laughing) – [Diana] No. So we have just finished eating dinner and cleared up everything
and now we are gonna go on a short hike up to Vista
Point to watch the sunset. (relaxing music) – [Diana] It’s day three
on Channel Islands. We had a leisurely
morning and had breakfast and read a book for a little while. And now we’re all packed up and we’ll go hang out by the
beach until the boat comes. (groovy music) – [Diana] This is cool. So we landed here, at Scorpion Anchorage, we camped over here, on the
second day we did the hike, over here, the Scorpion Cove. We went back this way through the canyon back to the campsite, and then for sunset we did the Cavern Point hike
and saw a beautiful sunset. (upbeat music) – We are back on the mainland. The boat landed at 4:30, the visitor center on
the mainland closes at 5. So, it’s about a six
minute walk from the boat. So I’ll see if I can catch it and get another stamp in the stamp book. So on Anacapa Island also
has an Inspiration Point but this one we were not able to hike. We were on Santa Cruz Island. Oh well, maybe next time. We are back at Emma Wood State Beach after visiting the Channel Islands. We are back in our trailer,
and now we are getting ready to set off to our next adventure, which is the start of the Route 66. We have now seen all the
national park units around the start of Route 66,
like the Channel Islands, Santa Monica Mountains National Park, Cabrillo National Monument in San Diego, and now we’re ready to go. So in the next episode, join
us on Santa Monica Pier, the start of Route 66. Thanks for watching,
and see you next time! – [Matt] Oh and you’ll be pleased to know, we didn’t encounter any poisonous plants while hiking on the trail
with the thick vegetation.

4 thoughts on “Kayaking at Channel Islands National Park + cute Island Foxes (#17/419)

  1. Thanks for the video. Great video going through the sea caves – especially through the elephant. Looks like the surf was somewhat rough which should have made kayaking interesting.

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