Saturday, December 31, 2016

Christmas camp out on Santa Cruz Island

A little over 8 years ago, Billy purchased a trip for he and I to boat out to the channel islands and camp on Santa Rosa. Well, he gave it to me on my birthday... the day William was born. Needless to say, we didn't use it right away and it was buried and sort of forgotten about.
We started talking about going out to the islands as a family recently and the gift card was unearthed. I called the boat company, Island Packers, and it was still in their records! I made the call, reserved a camp site at Scorpion Bay on Santa Cruz island, and then booked our boat ride over for the Tuesday after Christmas. It would be our family Christmas trip this year.
We could not have asked for better weather. We had some rain right around Christmas and more rain the weekend after, but hit it just right with a really warm clear day on Tuesday & Wednesday! The boat ride over went pretty well, it was a little windy and so the ocean was not completely calm. I of coarse was the one and only who got sick and lost my breakfast of the side of the boat. But Billy and all the kids did really good.
We unloaded all our gear, food, and water off the boat and had about a half mile walk to the camp ground. I thought that being winter time, we would be the only ones camping out there, but boy was I wrong about that. The camp ground was quite full actually and we were one of the only ones not staying for more than one night. It was great to see.

Once we got our tent set up and all our things stored away so that the island foxes couldn't get our things, we set out on a hike. It was a nice afternoon and the views were all clear. We didn't make it too far, but we found a pretty spot to take our family picture.

We checked out the visitors center and learned a little bit more about the island and what used to go on out there. Pretty interesting stuff.
Being winter time, the day ended all to soon. There are no camp fires allowed on the island, so once it got dark, we tucked ourselves into the tent. Billy read a book to the boys, Leila fell asleep next to me, and we were down for bed at like 6:30!

The next morning, I forced myself to change into some running clothes and headed out to watch the sunrise from the front ridge of the island. It was really beautiful. I ran a 5 mile trail along the ridge, over to Potato harbor lookout, and back into camp. All the kids had eaten oatmeal and hot chocolate by the time I got back and were running around and playing. I fixed myself the same, then we broke down camp. We took all our gear back to the loading pier so that we didn't have to do it later and rush at 3pm.  Then we set out for another hike. This time we took the other ridge toward Santa Rosa island. It was the trail I had run in the morning, so I was familiar with everything the second time. The kids all did great, except for Jameson, who wasn't to into walking that morning. What can you do, he is 4 after all. At one point when we reached the trail to loop back to the camp, I stayed there with Jameson while everyone else pushed on to Potato harbor. It was a really warm and clear day, I didn't mind laying in the sunshine with Jameson one bit. Once the rest of the crew returned we made our way back to Scorpion's cove. We hung out on the waters edge, looked for cool rocks and sea glass, and enjoyed the afternoon until the boat would come to pick us up.

The boat ride back to Ventura was full. But we had a nice spot on the back of the boat (mostly for me, just in case my stomach wasn't going to cooperate again) The ocean was really smooth and calm on Wednesday! It was warm, sea creatures were abundant, and I almost felt like I was in a movie. We saw migrating gray whales, tons and tons of dolphins, even a sea turtle was spotted! Not only that, but we were watching the sun slowly set the last leg of the ride. By the time we reached the harbor, the sun had just touched down behind the islands we had just come from. It was really beautiful AND I didn't get sick! Even with all the times we slowed down and stopped to see ocean creatures! I made it. It was a really great trip and we were all so glad we did it. The boys are already asking when we can go camping again.

Hooray for a Christmas camp out!


  1. What did I tell you about those fox! Ha ha.
    Your pictures are awesome! I'm glad you went and had such a great adventure. Makes me want to go again. I hope one day when I have a family I will be doing this same type of thing. So fun.