Channel Islands – Anacapa

Eight islands make up the Channel Islands, five are within the Channel Islands National Park. Anapaca is nearly the smallest at 1.14 sq mi (Santa Barbara is the smallest at 1.02 sq mi). While it doesn’t have any human inhabitants, other than those temporarily inhabiting the campground, it is home to a vast population of nesting sea birds.

The islands are strictly regulated by permit to limit the number of people on any island at one time. Park concessionaire boats and private (permitted boats) are the only means to access the islands. So we opted for a National Geographic Expedition which allowed us the opportunity to see the islands in person.

Western gulls were nesting when we were there, hiking the trails around Anapaca. The gulls numbers in the thousands, and squawked incessantly as we walked by.

I can only imagine the noise once the chicks are hatched. Their eggs are camouflaged in speckled colors of light and dark splotches to protect the eggs from predators. Interestingly the chicks are born speckled just as the eggs to better hide from predators.

The waterways around the islands are also home to whales, dolphins, sea lions, seals, and a variety of other sea birds specific to this ecosystem.

Check out other photos of Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa here ..