Overview

enjoying-a-charter-trip-on-the-truth

Expeditions at a glance

Duration

5 days (4 full days and 1 boarding/transport day)

Departure Harbor

Santa Barbara Harbor

Departure & Return Times

Check-in is allowed after 10am. You can drop off your luggage and enjoy the town, we’ll be ready for you at our Welcome Dinner at 6:30pm.

Return: We return at 5pm on the last day of your trip.

Vessel

The Vision is 84’ fully equipped vessel built for Channel Islands National Park and is USCG approved with many recent safety upgrades.

Dining

All meals are included and feature sustainably caught local fish and organic local produce.

Featured activities

Kayaking

Paddle with elephant seals and into the world’s largest sea cave.

The Liveaboard Experience

Enjoy your journey on our 84’ vessel, Vision

Underwater

Bring your SCUBA or use the provided snorkeling gear for an even “deeper” experience.

Treking

Explore the islands’ range of habitats from white sand dunes to ancient Torrey Pine forests.

decorative waves

Itinerary & Maps

Let’s talk weather

The true definition of an “expedition” should replace “organized plan” with “A plan that is certain to change due to the weather”.

We don’t stop monitoring the weather forecast, period. However, the forecast takes a back seat to actual conditions once we arrive at the islands, and so our experience guides our decision making each day. And many times throughout the day. The reality is that we look for the best places based on the current weather.

Sample daily itinerary

7amContinental breakfast
7:30amWake-up call
7:30-8:30amHot breakfast served in the expedition lounge.
8:30amExpedition team briefing about the plan for the day
9:00a-12pMorning ocean operations (kayaking)
12:30-1:30pmLunch and repositioning of the vessel.
2:00-5:00Afternoon land operations (hiking)
5:30-7:30pSnorkeling, diving, reading, journaling, happy hour
7:30pDinner in the expedition lounge.
9pm-10pmEvening entertainment
10p-7aQuiet hours
Bluffs above the pacific ocean

Expedition; (n) an organized journey take for a specific purpose

Our specific purpose on this Expedition: To disconnect from modern digital life and reconnect with the wild ocean, the rustic islands, and the creatures that call these places home.

Adult summer camp

What makes this Adult Summer Camp?

  • This expedition is for travelers 18 years and older.
  • Welcome Solo travelers! Bring your group of friends or make new ones onboard.
  • Guided journaling and thoughtful introspection each day.
  • Bunk room offers privacy but a “camp” atmosphere.

Places we visit and things we do there

san miguel beach

San Miguel Island

  • Kayaking with Elephant Seals and California Sea Lions at Harris Point.
  • Hiking white sandy dunes and giant coreopsis forests.
  • Snorkeling/diving Prince Island Marine.
santa-rosa-island-hike

Santa Rosa Island

  • Kayak along the rugged coastline while being on the lookout for sea birds, seal and sea lions.
  • Hike through endangered Torrey Pine forest while on the lookout for island fox, spotted skunk and munchkin dudleya.
paddling-into-the-painted-cave

Santa Cruz Island

  • Kayak along some of the 77 miles of coastline surrounding Santa Cruz Island and into one of the world’s biggest sea caves, Painted Cave.
  • Hike on some of the well marked trails and roads that travers Santa Cruz Island that will take you to breathtaking overlooks of the island’s coastline.
  • Dive and snorkel the most divers array of dive sites out of all eight Channel Islands.
birds-around-the-lighthouse-at-the-channel-islands

Anacapa Island

  • Kayak on a downwind route snaking along the coastline and exploring the many sea caves along the way.
  • Hike to inspiration point.  One of the most spectacular hikes in Channel Islands National Park.  Looking west you can see as far as Santa Rosa on a clear day.

Trip Details

The 84’ Vision has been custom built for Channel Islands exploring above and below the surface.

She is a USCG inspected vessel approved for carrying 33 overnight passengers or 107 day passengers. She is outfitted with 30 bunks for passengers and 8 bunks for crew. We leave several bunks open on all voyages to keep the bunk room spacious enough for your gear.

An experienced crew consists of

  • 2 USCG 100 Ton Master Captains
  • 3 Expedition Guides
  • 2 Galley Chefs
  • 1 Night Watch crew (responsible for our night watches)
liveaboard-boats-for-the-channel-islands

Equipped with

  • 3 restrooms
  • 2 private indoor showers, and 2 deck showers
  • Full service galley/bar (beer, wine, cocktails for purchase)
  • Relaxing sundeck for wildlife viewing
  • Expedition deck where we store our wet gear and prepare for operations.
  • Zodiac fast boat for landing and ocean support.
  • Kayaks and necessary gear for exploring the islands and the sea caves.
  • Snorkel gear and wetsuits for all guests. This is not freediving gear, this is basic tourist fins, masks, and straws. If you want to get more advanced gear, you can rent from the Santa Barbara Landing where the boat departs.
vision-fully-equiped-for-an-adventure

The Bunk Room

The bunk room is air conditioned and comfortable. All passengers and some crew will be staying in this area. She is serviced by 2 exit hatches that lead to the “weather deck” or the walk around area of the boat. There is 1 changing room in this area.

The bunks are equipped with a privacy curtain, a reading lamp, a pillow, and a blanket. We recommend you bring a sleeping bag for extra comfort. There are no hooks or drawers to hang your clothing, so you will be using your luggage for your gear. We have a wet gear drying area at the after area of the expedition deck where you can keep your ocean/wet things.

4 Full Days at Sea + Boarding/Departure Day

 

This Expedition has been carefully curated by co-owners Garrett/Kaia Kababik and Joel/Sarah Mulder over the past 20+ years of cruising the Channel Islands and leading groups on custom charters.

Here is what we think makes this trip amazing:

  • Take your time exploring the islands with experienced guides, we are just as excited to see new and incredible things as the guests.
  • Delicious and healthy food made all day, just for you! We like to eat healthy and so we bring that love and passion to our meals. You will be well fed and happy!
  • Kayak at remote areas on paddles we have chosen to be our favorite based on wildlife and scenery.
  • Experience the underwater scene from the colder temperate waters of San Miguel Island to the semi-tropical/temperate waters of Anacapa Island.
  • We seek something unique each trip and we pay attention to the ecosystem and let it guide us to wildlife encounters that are unbeatable.
  • This is the only way to see all of the islands without buying a boat or befriending one just for that benefit.
  • No cell service – yes this is a perk! We have Starlink internet service for emergency communications.
  • Be free to relax or keep moving, it’s up to you. Our itinerary is designed to give you just the right amount of up and down time.
expedition guide

Healthy and Delicious Food Served Fresh from our Galley

We source most of our produce from the local farmers’ markets in order to serve a seasonal, sustainable, and healthy menu.

We can accommodate the following diets and ALL severe food allergies:

  • Vegetarian
  • Vegan
  • Gluten Free (we do not provide gluten free bread)
delicious meal aboard the vision

1 Dive per Day*

This is no your typical SCUBA trip where we seek out the best dive spots all day long. This is an expedition where our purpose is varied.

*We do our best to get one dive per day, but can make no guarantees (read earlier part about the weather)

  • You must bring your own SCUBA gear, tanks, and weights.
  • We provide you with air fills.
  • You must dive with a buddy, if you are coming solo talk to us and we’ll let you know if we can match you up with another passenger.
snorkeling at San Miguel Island

Expedition FAQ

Each person is assigned a bunk, you may reserve an oversized bunk for $100 additional. Each bunk has a privacy curtain. Our nightwatch crew is there for the safety of passengers and the vessel.

Yes, you are welcome to bring SCUBA gear. We have air compressors to fill tanks, so you only need one tank. We do not carry tanks or weights, but you can get both from Dive Santa Barbara @ Landing prior to our departure.

We may only have the chance for 1 dive per day, and we may not be able to dive everyday. Once we get to Santa Cruz Island and Anacapa Island, we have more chances for diving.

This is not a typical dive trip where we are focused on finding great diving all day long, we must find a place that is good for diving and snorkeling, so this may mean shallow dives.

If you have questions about diving on the Expedition, call us at 805-899-4925.

The true definition of an “Expedition” is that we don’t know exactly what we are going to do until we have a reliable weather forecast. The forecast reliability window is about 24 hours. We have many tricks up our sleeves and we know how to make the best of the weather we are handed. But our daily itinerary changes based on weather.

Because of that here is a sample itinerary for a day:

  • 7am continental breakfast
  • 7:30am wake-up call
  • 7:30-8:30 am hot breakfast served in the expedition lounge.
  • 8:30am Expedition team briefing about the plan for the day
  • 9:00a-12p morning ocean operations (kayaking)
  • 12:30-1:30pm lunch and repositioning of the vessel.
  • 2:00-5:00 afternoon land operations (hiking)
  • 5:30-7:30p snorkeling, diving, reading, journaling, happy hour
  • 7:30p Dinner in the expedition lounge .
  • 9pm-10pm Evening entertainment
  • 10p-7a quiet hours

You can drop off your gear anytime after 10am and head out to enjoy lunch and shopping in Santa Barbara. At 6:30pm you board and meet crew and get to know the other passengers during our welcome dinner and briefing.

After dinner and briefing you can retreat to you bunks and we get underway in the middle of the night on our way to the Channel Islands. You’ll wake up the next morning to a lost world where wildlife and breathtaking landscapes are your backdrop to breakfast and coffee.

The minimum age for this trip is 18 years old.

In order to snorkel you must know how to swim. You can kayak by just being comfortable floating in a PFD. You don’t need to be excellent at swimming laps, but you need to be comfortable treading water and being in deep water.

Generally, the level of difficulty of kayaking on this trip is moderate and downwind for the most part. Since we are vessel-supported, all of the paddling will be downwind. However, you may have to paddle in a range of conditions so we recommend that participants be in reasonable physical shape and comfortable on the ocean.

    • Cost is per person in single bunks.
    • Oversized bunks are available but limited.
    • Group rates are available for 2 or more guests.
    • Deposit is 50% due at booking with balance collected 60 days prior to departure.
    • Bookings made within 60 days require payment in full.
    • Payments are non-refundable.
    • If you cancel before final payment, you will be issued a credit for what you have paid that must be used within 12 months of your cancellation date, you will not be liable for the remaining balance.

What if WE have to cancel?
If we have to cancel for ANY reason including but not limited to the following, we will refund all of your payments in FULL. We highly recommend you get travel insurance for the remaining legs of your journey (airfare etc) as the only thing the CIEx Trip Protection covers is the Expedition booking.
Weather (this is very unlikely on a multi-day expedition)
-Mechanical issue with the boat
-Government order (read “COVID-19 again”)
-Minimum not met (we will confirm at 30 days).
Confirmation details will be sent to paid guests at time of the booking and at intervals as your expedition gets closer.
A waiver and medical questionnaire will be required to be completed prior to bunk assignment.

Book Now!

$2,095

Parties of 2 or more

$2,245

Solo traveler

Trip Reviews

Day Trip

Anacapa Tour

Garrett, Phil and the other crew members who guided us through Anacapa were outstanding! I would definitely put this on your Summer bucket list. A great way to get fresh air, exercise and actually go through not one, but like 10 sea caves. Emerald Cave and Roller Coaster Cave were favorites. We even jumped out of our kayaks and swam through a cave. We also...

Tracy E.
Rated 4.9/5 based on 19 customer reviews

Tracy E.

5/5stars
Day Trip

Anacapa Tour

We had such a wonderful time kayaking the Channel Islands with Channel Islands Expeditions! The crew was fun, friendly and knowledgeable and made our day perfect. The food onboard was delicious and they even took care of my weird dietary needs. Kayaking through the island caves was so beautiful and they made it easy even for those of us kayaking for the first time. Leaving...

Kristi K.
Rated 4.9/5 based on 19 customer reviews

Kristi K.

5/5stars
Day Trip

Anacapa Tour

We signed up for the Sea Cave Combo package and it was the best trip ever. Originally we were put on a waitlist for a different (and more expensive) company that had us inconveniently book the ferry + activity separately, but then came across CIE last minute and booked through them. It was a much better choice. From start to finish the whole crew, especially...

Rated 4.9/5 based on 19 customer reviews

Brian Owen

5/5stars
Day Trip

Anacapa Tour

Definitely recommend - Truly an amazing and unique experience. Recently I had the opportunity to join on the kayak/snorkeling trip at Anacapa Island with CIX. First of all, they have an awesome crew of knowledgeable individuals who love their job. They make sure you're comfortable and taken care of while also guiding you through a one of a kind experience. I learned so much and...

Rated 4.9/5 based on 19 customer reviews

Taylor o.

5/5stars
Day Trip

Painted Cave Tour

We had the best day out with CIX on our trip to Painted Cave. The trip was a kayak and snorkel day trip. The crew was amazing, everyone was very friendly and knowledgeable. The kayaking was so beautiful and it was cool to get into the caves and learn about them through the guides. The snorkeling was super pretty, and we enjoyed the day out...

Rated 4.9/5 based on 19 customer reviews

Simone S.

5/5stars
Day Trip

Painted Cave Tour

We had the best day out with CIX on our trip to Painted Cave. The trip was a kayak and snorkel day trip. The crew was amazing, everyone was very friendly and knowledgeable. The kayaking was so beautiful and it was cool to get into the caves and learn about them through the guides. The snorkeling was super pretty also! The crew was also awesome...

Simone Shomaker
Rated 4.9/5 based on 19 customer reviews

Simone Shomaker

5/5stars
Day Trip

Painted Cave Tour

Once in a lifetime experience!!! The crew (John, Randy, Beth, Jake, Bryson, Savannah and Max) were all amazing hosts and guides. They have thought of everything to make this a truly unique and memorable experience. The food was incredible, the activities and tours were fun and beautiful, and the Channel Islands and it's wildlife make you feel like you're in a different...

Molly Culp
Rated 4.9/5 based on 19 customer reviews

Molly Culp

5/5stars
Day Trip

Painted Cave Tour

We went out on our 20th anniversary and really enjoyed the whole trip. The crew was great Marc was very informative and helpful. Ally bubbly personality made the experience great. Our captain was awesome.

Rated 4.9/5 based on 19 customer reviews

Chris M.

5/5stars
Day Trip

Anacapa Tour

If you are interested in whale watching and an up close visit to the Channel Islands, we highly recommend booking with Channel Islands Expeditions. Captain Tim and First Mate Travis were top notch - Experienced, Knowledgeable, Outgoing, Patient and Accommodating. We could absolutely not have had a better day! The trip to Anacapa Island was full of wildlife encounters and the details...

Rated 4.9/5 based on 19 customer reviews

Gail Wills

5/5stars
Expedition

Group Charter Trip

I have been diving with the stellar crew and team at Channel Islands Expedition for several years. Their attention to detail, respect for the marine environment, safety approach, and great service is top notch. There is an adventure for anyone, whether you want to do a one day outing or a several day option. They have WiFi options for purchase and the food is yummy....

Darcy M.
Rated 4.9/5 based on 19 customer reviews

Darcy M.

5/5stars
Day Trip

Anacapa Tour

Channel Islands Expeditions has a top notch kayak trip experience. As a native, I had never made it to the islands just a few miles of the coast of my hometown; Craig our guide and Alex the captain made sure we had a memorable experience. We kayaked the northern tip of Anacapa which is closed most of the year into sea caves and along the...

Lauren C.
Rated 4.9/5 based on 19 customer reviews

Lauren C.

5/5stars
Day Trip

Painted Cave Tour

This was a wonderful and beautiful experience. We came here on my birthday, it was my 53rd birthday. My husband is semi handicapped and we were pleasantly surprised that the group were very helpful and in helping him with the kayaking and the snorkeling so that way he can experience everything just like a full able-bodied person can. We are also gluten-free vegans which...

Nereida La Sirena Rojas
Rated 4.9/5 based on 19 customer reviews

Nereida La Sirena Rojas

5/5stars
Day Trip

Painted Cave Tour

Awesome experience. Did a day trip to Santa Cruz Island and went on a guided kayaking tour. Captain Dan and his crew were all extremely friendly and knowledgeable. Also, the crew member Bailey made some delicious chocolate chip cookies with three different kinds of chocolate for everyone on board, would book this trip again just for the cookies alone.

Rated 4.9/5 based on 19 customer reviews

Anthony L.

5/5stars
Expedition

Epic Weekender trip

Had a great 2 day one night trip recently on the Truth for the Epic Weekender trip. The crew was all very professional and helpful, from captain John to the guides to the chef Jake etc. We had 2 days of excellent cave kayaking with Max guiding us, and a very nice snorkel experience as well. Food was exceptionally great, props to Jake....

Tracy Mulligan
Rated 4.9/5 based on 19 customer reviews

Tracy Mulligan

5/5stars
Day Trip

Anacapa Tour

My recent kayaking trip with Channel Islands Expeditions was an absolute gem. We departed from the Channel Islands Harbor in Oxnard. There was a CIEx sign set out so I knew I was in the right place to meet. Right from the start, the crew's professionalism and attention to safety made me feel secure and excited. The crossing on the Sunfish was awesome! We got...

Genelise Hazen
Rated 4.9/5 based on 19 customer reviews

Genelise Hazen

5/5stars
Day Trip

Painted Cave Tour

What an amazing adventure! I had the honor of going on a kayaking and snorkeling tour hosted by CIEx out of Santa Barbara. I was delighted with a boat vs dolphins race as we exited the Santa Barbara Harbor and headed towards the Channel Islands. We were escorted to the islands by a pod of dolphins HUNDREDS strong. It was like a dream! CIEx provided...

Guidance Moon
Rated 4.9/5 based on 19 customer reviews

Guidance Moon

5/5stars
Expedition

Group Charter Trip

What an incredible experience. Captain John, Chef Tim (Chefro), 2nd Captain Beth, and crew Tina and Troy made this dive trip the diving adventure of the year for me. Captain John exceeded his “guarantee” of 50% more diving than anticipated and Chefro poured his heart into making sure we had the best meals and snacks ready to go after every single dive. Beth, Tina, and...

Rated 4.9/5 based on 19 customer reviews

Brandon Seifert

5/5stars
Day Trip

Painted Cave Tour

Amazing trip! I loved the boat. We had a great time kayaking. The crossing was incredible with dolphins, sea lions, and humpback whales literally breaching out of the water! We really explored the sea caves with guides so far in we could get not see without the help of the guides light. It felt like an adventure but also safe as we had a...

Robert Turner
Rated 4.9/5 based on 19 customer reviews

Robert Turner

5/5stars
Day Trip

Painted Cave Tour

Amazing! So happy I went with this company. You can bring coolers on board & dry bags with snacks are allowed on the kayaks, & take a ball cap for helmet. Dan was our guide Super friendly, very patient, all staff was great. Went on a Thursday, the experience was more intimate, because all the caves were empty, & our group was only 5 visitors.

Rated 4.9/5 based on 19 customer reviews

Cynthia P.

5/5stars

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