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5 Days of Ocean Exploration, learning, and adventure.
Camp Calypso is an extension of the Ocean Explorers day camp that our partners at the Paddle Sports Center have been running for over a decade. This camp takes place on our custom-built expedition vessels, giving campers an unforgettable liveaboard experience!
- Departure Harbor: Santa Barbara Harbor, Santa Barbara Landing
- All islands in the Channel Islands National Park
- Activities: kayaking, surfing, snorkeling, and island treks.
- Experiential Learning: island ecology, marine biology, geography, geology, resource conservation, seamanship.
- Check In: 8:00 am on Monday morning
- Duration: 5 full days and 4 nights onboard
- Return to Santa Barbara Harbor: at 5:00 pm on the fifth day
Learning & Fun
- Kayaking: Campers will begin each day with a kayak paddle. We will start off with easier paddles and build our skills throughout the week. Campers will team up with one another in tandem (two-person) kayaks.
- Snorkeling: Each day campers will have the chance to explore the underwater world and kelp forests of Channel Islands National Park. They will learn how to clear their mask and make dives below the water’s surface.
- Nature Hikes: Throughout each session, campers will have the chance to visit some of the more remote and less trafficked islands within the Channel Islands for once-in-a-lifetime hiking opportunities. We will explore the caliche forest of San Miguel Island and visit the rare Torrey pines of Santa Rosa Island.
- Island Ecology: Campers will learn about the natural history and ecology of the Channel Islands. The islands are an incredible place to make inferences based on observation and gain a practical understanding of scientific methods. Campers will have the chance to use science to understand both the marine and terrestrial environments of California.
- Marine Biology: Campers will have a chance to observe marine life at the islands firsthand, from kayaks and while snorkeling. Campers will learn about cetaceans, pinnipeds, kelp forests, and marine protected areas.
- Geography: We will share map reading techniques with campers and give them the chance to practice navigation with both modern methods and primitive wayfinding.
- Geology: Ancient volcanic oceanic islands on the edge of the North American continent are the perfect place to build an enthusiastic interest in rocks and faults!
- Astronomy: The night sky at the islands is less polluted by city lights. On clear nights we’ll learn about constellations, physics, and how mariners have used the stars to navigate for centuries.
- Seamanship: Each camper will be taught the basic principles of Seamanship (this is the gender-neutral term to refer to maritime skills). This includes knot tying, nautical terminology, and chart plotting.
Staff & Safety
We are maritime professionals and leaders, safety is always our priority.
Each Crew Member and Counselor is trained and certified
- Lifeguard or Divemaster
- First aid and CPR for the professional rescuer
- Ocean Risk Management Professionals (ORMP)
- Background check and TB tested
Recent Upgrades – Our Vessels have recently undergone significant safety upgrades to improve escape means from the bunk rooms and detection of smoke and fire. These upgrades are beyond what the USCG requires of vessels our size.
Night Watch – Our crew conducts a roving night watch, inspecting every area of the vessel on 15-minute cycles. A crew member is assigned to night watch duty whenever campers are onboard.
Guide Experience – Our guides/counselors have decades of experience at the islands working with children of all ages.
Want to see for yourself? We invite all parents to visit us at the boats ahead of time by scheduling an appointment with us via email.
Camp Dates & Destination
Camp Calypso: Channel Islands National Park
What to Pack for your camper?
Camp Calypso includes multiple sports and activities over the 5-day trip – you’ll want to plan accordingly for the activities that you’ll be participating in. We suggest bringing the following items, for each activity.
- Kayak clothing – bathing suits and sun tops. Your camper will be given a Farmer John style wetsuit (like overalls).
- Small daypack – 25-35 liters
- Appropriate trail footwear
- 2 Towels
- Dry bags for San Miguel and Santa Rosa beach landings
- Reusable water bottle 1 liter or more
- Waterproof Camera
- Sleeping bag or additional blanket – the bunkroom is air-conditioned, we recommend bringing a sleeping bag or extra blanket
- Personal medications and motion sickness medication
- Personal toiletries
- Sunglasses, hat, and other sun protection
- Sunscreen-must be reef-safe sunscreen.
What to leave behind:
- Tablets and handheld games
- Snacks and drinks (we have plenty)
Frequently Asked Questions
Each half of the vessel bunk room is sectioned off, one half for boys, and other half for girls. There is a counselor/guide of the same gender on each respective side.
Campers must be at least 13 years old. We ask that they are no older than 17 years old.
YES! There is no way around this. Previous swimming experience is required.
Yes, we are partnered with the City of Santa Barbara Parks and Recreation department.
For the most part, our vessels will be outside of cell service during the week long camp. When we are on the north side of the islands, we tend to receive a weak signal at various areas. If you have an emergency while we are at sea, you can contact our office and we will contact the vessel via satellite phone.
-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