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Departs Santa Barbara
Explore some the World’s Largest Sea Caves – Depart from Santa Barbara – Hot Lunch Served
- Check-In: 7:15 am
- Briefing and Departure: 7:30 am
- Return to Santa Barbara Harbor: 5:30pm
Adventure time at the islands is around 5 hours. The dolphin and whale crossing takes roughly 2.5 hours each way. We have bunks down below where you can nap on the crossing. We also have a sundeck for enjoying your morning coffee or an adult beverage on the return trip.
- Departure Harbor: Santa Barbara Harbor (at the Santa Barbara Landing docks)
- Destination: West end of Santa Cruz Island
- Spend all day in Channel Islands National Park and National Marine Sanctuary
Trip Specific Information
- Experience Level: Some previous kayaking is helpful but not needed
- Minimum Age: 7 years
- Minimum Number of Guests Required To Run: 4
Pre Trip Planning
MUST BRING ITEMS:
- Water bottle– reusable water bottles can be filled onboard. We do not provide plastic water bottles (sorry)
- Warm clothing – street clothes are fine, dress in layers and bring warm clothes. Long pants are recommended.
- Kayak Clothing – bathing suits and sun tops. You will be given a farmer John style wetsuit (like overalls) and a wetsuit top.
- Sunscreen – We prefer reef safe sunscreen. Learn what makes sunscreen reef safe here.
- Personal Medication (inform CIEx crew when boarding)
- Towel-for drying off
- Waterproof cameras – we strongly recommend you take your phone or camera kayaking only if you have a waterproof case for it.
- Personal wetsuit for extra warmth while snorkeling.
- Motion sickness medicine.
- Gratuity for guides and crew.
Gourmet Hot Lunch
We serve both breakfast and lunch. Breakfast is healthy and light, we’ll cook eggs to order and a breakfast bar with breads, cereals, and fruit. While you’re kayaking the chef puts together a hot lunch, which is a spread of options with a mediterranean theme.
Friendly Guides and Crew
Check-in at the Santa Barbara Landing and hop onto the Truth for the day. We take great care in making your journey comfortable. When it’s time to kayak, you’ll dress up and walk down a short ladder to our swim deck and a guide will help you onto your kayak. Super easy, lots of fun!
Snorkeling from Kayaks
Each kayak will be loaded with a mesh bag with masks and snorkels for each paddler. You can hop off the kayaks at any time and take a look below. Our insurance requires all swimmers to wear your PFD, so we don’t provide fins.
Conditions on the West end of Santa Cruz can change quickly, and we’ll do our best to make time for snorkeling at the end of your kayaking trip, but if we need to wrap things up in order to beat the wind on our way home, your snorkeling may be cut short.
If you bring your own gear, and we have time, we’ll do our best to put you on a good snorkeling spot from the boat, where you don’t have to wear a PFD as long as you have a wetsuit on.
Those of you who are super excited about snorkeling, we suggest you try our Epic Overnight – Sea Cave Kayak, Snorkel, and Dive as it allows for much more time for a real kelp forest experience. The snorkeling at the islands is amazing and we want to show you that, but we have to balance safety and timing to make the day enjoyable.
-Tanner Keys | Google
-Mark R. | Yelp
-David C. | Yelp
-Chuyên L. | Yelp
-John S. | Yelp
Recently went on a 5 night, 6 day liveaboard trip off the Truth. The crew and captains were all very nice and welcoming. The boat has great safety protocols to ensure us divers were safe throughout the entirety of this trip. Chef Tim was fantastic! I have never had better quality food on a boat trip, and he has definitely set the bar high. We had amazing homemade dishes almost every meal, he had vegetarian and vegan options as well. I would 100% recommend this boat to anyone interested in planning a multi-day dive trip to the Channel Islands.
-Jill D. | Yelp
We had a wonderful time kayaking through the sea caves and Anacapa Arch. All the on board staff were excellent. We will definitely come back and do a different tour with them.
-Jen Y. | Yelp
-Allyson Arons | TripAdvisor
-Tad | TripAdvisor
-Alicia | TripAdvisor
-Denise W | TripAdvisor
Frequently Asked Questions
Boat Transportation is included. All CIEx trips are vessel-supported on our custom built expedition vessels.
The minimum age on this trip is 12.
All children 16 and under MUST BE with an adult in a tandem kayak.
Our age limits are for your safety and enjoyment.
We don’t allow reservations of single kayaks ahead of time, but we have single kayaks available for those of you traveling solo or in odd-numbered groups.
The kayaking on this trip is of moderate difficulty due to the chance of exposure to wind and waves on the west end of Santa Cruz Island. You will not be paddling into the wind, we paddle downwind, but you may have to paddle in a range of conditions. We recommend that participants be in reasonable physical shape and comfortable on the ocean.
This trip does not include landing or hiking on Santa Cruz Island. If you want to hike on the Channel Islands, we recommend that you book a 4-Day Expedition Trip with us! If you are interested in hiking specifically on Santa Cruz Island, we recommend contacting Island Packers. Based on the amount of time it takes to travel across the Santa Barbara Channel, kayaking is all we’ll have time to do in a day on this trip!
Yes, prices vary based on day of week and season. Please call or email with the dates you are interested in and we’ll get you a quote.
Difference between CIEx Sea Cave Kayaking Trips:
- This trip to Santa Cruz is longer and might be more challenging depending on weather conditions.
- The highlight of this trip is Painted Cave (one of the largest sea caves in the world); at Anacapa, the arches are the highlights in addition to many smaller sea caves.
- The water is typically a bit colder on the north side of Santa Cruz Island compared to Anacapa, and so we provide farmer John-style wetsuits.
- We provide food and beverages on this trip. You do not need to bring your own food.
Difference between CIEx Sea Cave Kayaking Trips and Scorpion Ranch Trips:
- All CIEx kayaking trips are vessel-supported. Rather than launching and landing through surf at the Scorpion Ranch beach, all CIEx trips launch kayaks from our motherships with crew assistance from our easy access water-level swim step. On our trips, you paddle in one direction with the wind and get picked up at the end of your paddle by the mothership. You’ll have the support vessel nearby at all times to assist you if needed.
- You are our exclusive purpose. All CIEx kayak guests are here for the same reason… to kayak into sea caves! Scorpion Ranch trips require ferry transportation to get to the island paddling destination, which can result in wait times between activities.
- We paddle at areas where we barely encounter other boaters or visitors to the islands. This means fewer crowds and more wildlife. Scorpion Ranch is the most heavily visited part of Channel Islands National Park – if you’re looking to get a more remote experience, join us!