Expeditions

Departure Location

Expedition trips depart from Santa Barbara Landing in Santa Barbara 

Santa Barbara Harbor - Santa Barbara, CA

301 W Cabrillo Blvd
Santa Barbara, CA 93101

Boarding and Departure

Boarding

You can drop your gear off anytime after 10am. Please check-in at the Santa Barbara Landing office to get your boarding welcome guide with bunk assignment.

Check-in

  • Check-in is at 6:30 pm - buffet served
  • All passengers must be in attendance for orientation at 7:30pm. 

Forgot Something?

You can get last minute items for your adventure at the Santa Barbara Landing. They sell:

  • Fishing licenses
  • Beer/wine/ice
  • Sunscreen, sunglasses, hats
  • Fishing tackle
  • Dive and snorkel equipment

What to Pack

This is a multi-day adventure, so you want to make sure that you are comfortable for the entire time you are out on the water.  The average water temperature around Channel Islands National Park is around 60°F. That means the air temperature is going to be significantly cooler than what you experience at the harbor.  Weather and wind can also change very rapidly.  It is recommended that you pack a lightweight base layer, warmer jacket and a waterproof/windproof top layer.    

Checklist of things that you should bring

  • Additional bedding and/or sleeping bag – we provide a pillow and blanket. We suggest bringing a sleeping bag for staying comfortable in our climate controlled bunk room.
  • Toiletries (toothbrush/paste, etc)
  • Water shoes or sandals with straps. Flip flop slippers cannot be worn on the kayaks.
  • Hiking boots/sneakers – comfortable lightweight cross training sneakers are best. The terrain is moderate and the trails are blazed.
  • Day pack – 30L is a good size. Enough to fit your hiking shoes (you’ll want to keep them dry when landing on San Miguel Island), a water bottle, snack, and jacket.
  • Reusable water bottle - can be filled onboard
  • Waterproof/windproof top layer.
  • Base layers - we suggest having a lightweight base layer, a warmer jacket, and hooded sweatshirts.
  • Kayak clothing - bathing suits and sun tops. You will be given a Farmer John style wetsuit (like overalls). Fleece layers can help stay warm.
  • Snorkeling gear – 5mm wetsuit is a good thickness for all conditions. Available for rent at the SB Dive Center and the gear will be waiting for you on the boat.
  • SCUBA gear – if you plan to free dive or SCUBA dive, bring your gear set up. (Open-water certification is required to SCUBA dive). Available for rent at the SB Dive Center and the gear will be waiting for you on the boat.
  • Sunscreen – It must be reef-safe sunscreen. Learn what makes sunscreen reef safe.
  • Sunglasses and sun hats. We suggest a baseball cap for use under your helmet during kayaking.
  • Camera/s- we suggest having a nice camera for the hikes and a waterproof camera for the kayaking and snorkeling/diving. We also suggest you have a reliable waterproof bag for your camera when landing on San Miguel Island.
  • Fishing rods/gear with a license per individual over 16 that plans on fishing. Licenses can be purchased at the SB Landing.
  • Books for reading
  • Personal alcoholic beverages and personal coolers with ice. We do not provide ice or cold storage for personal items unless it is medications. We suggest cans over bottles. You can enjoy these beverages after all water activities are complete, once you imbibe you cannot dive!
  • Motion sickness medicine and personal medications.
  • Gratuity for guides and crew.

What not to bring

  • NO MARIJUANA - this is a federal crime still and on our vessels you will be in federal jurisdiction. If we are boarded you can go to jail.
  • Drones – you cannot fly them in the National Park.

If you are a smoker, you can smoke on the aft dive deck, downwind under the supervision of a crew member who will be making sure your trash is properly discarded. 

Preparation

Our guides and crew are professionally trained and have decades of combined experience both above and below the water. We routinely guide and instruct guests in ocean activities that they have never tried before. However if you would like to do some extra preparation for your upcoming expedition, please review our recommendations below.

Kayaking

Give it a try in calm seas first.

If you haven’t done much kayaking on sit-on-tops, no worries… they are really easy to get accustomed to. We suggest you go for a paddle in calm waters at least once before joining this trip, this will make your first paddle a little more comfortable. If you are looking for an easy way to try out sea kayaking prior to your trip, check out the Paddle Sports Center.

SCUBA

Talk to your doctor if you haven’t SCUBA dove in a while and make sure you are good to go. 

Snorkeling

Give it a try first!

  • Practice: Before you go snorkeling, practice using gear in a pool or shallow water near the shore. This will help you get used to breathing through the snorkel and how the equipment works.
  • Learn some skills: Learn how to clear your snorkel without taking it out of your mouth first. This is a basic skill that you'll need for duck diving. You can also learn how to dive underwater while snorkeling to get closer to fish and coral.
  • Choose a good location: Research and find a good snorkeling spot for beginners.
  • Stay calm: Try to stay relaxed and reduce effort.

Expectations

What to expect being on a boat for 4 days… 

Food and Beverages 

Our galley chefs come from years of professional experience serving healthy, nutritious, and delicious meals throughout your expedition. Each day starts with a hot breakfast and we keep you well fed throughout the day. A snack will be ready after each activity and we serve dinner as a family in the galley around 6:30 pm each evening.

Please inform us ahead of time if you are any of the following diets (these are the only diets we can accomodate, sorry):

  • Vegetarian
  • Vegan
  • Gluten Free

If you are allergic to any foods, please inform us ASAP.

Soda (Coca Cola, Diet Coke, Barqs Root Beer, lemonade, cranberry, ginger ale, soda water) and filtered water is available all day along with hot tea and coffee.

Fresh seafood platter

Weather

The weather at the Channel Islands can change quickly and while we have a pretty good plan, this plan will likely change while we are out on our expedition based on the wind and waves. Therefore, it’s a really good idea to set your expectations on adventure and not specific goals. We do our best to stick to our panned itinerary, but if conditions do not allow us to visit remote areas, we will do the next best thing with the conditions we have. 

Sea Sickness

Sea Sickness can be a real problem for people, but always goes away. We suggest a few things:

  • Start taking sea sickness medication 24 hours prior to departure.
  • Avoid alcohol on the day prior to departure.
  • Eat light foods and stay away from grease and acid. Coffee can make you feel worse.
  • Hydrate – this really helps!

Guides Naturalists 

You will be in the company of guide professionals who love  Channel Islands National Park and we’ll be sharing our passion and knowledge along the way. Bring an open mind and inquisitive nature to this unique destination and adventure! 

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