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Majestic stone arches, lush kelp forests, and mysterious sea caves: these are just some of the unique aspects of Channel Islands National Park. If you’ve never experienced this amazing ocean wilderness before, it’s time to cross this bucket list destination off the list. A great way for first-time visitors to experience the islands is on one of our Anacapa Arches Kayaking trips. Read on for what to expect when you come explore Anacapa Island with Channel Islands Expeditions.

Headed through an archway in the channel islands on kayak

The Crossing

Perhaps one of the best parts about a Wild Blue Anacapa Adventure is that your adventure begins as soon as we leave the dock! As we motor out of Channel Islands Harbor and enter the sea, you might spot a Harbor Seal popping up to the surface for air. As we enter the channel, you’ll want to keep your eyes peeled for whales and dolphins. You can spot a whale from far away by keeping your eyes peeled for spouts of water, a sign that a whale may be about to breach. The most common whales in the summer are humpbacks, blue, and orcas. Pilot whales may be seen as well. In The winter months, pacific gray whales migrate through the channel. There is a good chance that we will see a pod of dolphins as well. Large pods of common dolphins are often spotted as well as smaller groups of Risso’s dolphins. Occasionally we see the rarer pacific bottlenose dolphin. Large groups of sea lions can also be seen in the channel.

dophin captured jumping out of the water


After about an hour or so on The Sunfish, you will arrive at our drop-off point, “Keyhole Arch” where the kayaking portion of your trip will begin. We will anchor the boat and our crew will begin unloading the kayaks and getting them into the water. One of the best parts about launching from the boat is that you don’t have to start your kayaking off by fighting through shore break, you will already be in calm, open waters. Once you are in the water, we will briefly go over some paddling techniques and then right away we will start exploring some sea caves! 

The caves on Anacapa Island were formed over time when repeated exposure to the force of ocean waves on faults in the rock resulted in erosion. The basalt rock on Anacapa is resistant to erosion, so caves maintain their structure for long periods of time. The world within the sea caves feels totally unique and kayaks are one of the best ways to experience them. As we paddle on you’ll have an opportunity to explore many different caves. We will also have the chance to go through multiple through-caves, meaning that you will be able to paddle into one end and out the other, conditions permitting.

As we paddle on from Keyhole Arch and the nearby caves, we will arrive at Middle Anacapa Island, which is home to the largest nesting habitat for Brown Pelicans & Western Gulls in North America. You might even see baby chicks beginning to leave their nests for the first time unaided. After checking out the birdlife on Middle Island, we will continue on our way towards the eastern end of the island, observing more birdlife while keeping our eyes peeled for Leopard Sharks and Garibaldi in the clear waters of the kelp forest below.

As we continue on our journey, we will cross to East Anacapa Island by way of Cathedral Cave, a spectacular paddle through cave system. We continue to explore the rugged coastline checking out coves that are home to the nests of Western Cormorants and other birds. We will also check out the landing cove, which is the only place that the ferry can land passengers on the island. From here we will have a great view of the Anacapa Island Lighthouse. 

Our trip will end with a paddle through the iconic Anacapa Arch, which is the symbol of Channel Islands National Park. From there we will paddle around and depending on weather conditions, snorkel. From here we will get back on the boat and load up, eat lunch and change into dry clothes! 

the boat ride to the channel islands is an experience in itself


It’s about an hour back to Oxnard, and we will return by 4 pm. Once again we will keep our eyes peeled for marine life in the channel. 

If this sounds like the trip for you, you can go ahead and book a trip here for this summer, we hope to have you!