About Us

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We work as ecotourism guides (as well as biologist and boat captain) often on the BC Coast, but also as far ranging as the Arctic and Antarctic. We have an insatiable curiousity for the planet; all its hidden gems and what makes them tick. That and our love of sailing is what inspired us to sail around the Pacific in Narama, our tough and pretty little sailboat.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Channel Islands

Yesterday we checked our email for the first time in awhile (scamming free wireless signals is our usual routine when ashore). It’s nice to get in touch every now and then, but we have to admit that we love being disconnected from the mod-cons of civilization for periods of time. We’ve spent the last ten days of ‘disconnect’ sailing through the Channel Islands. Getting there was delightful – our best day and night of easy sailing, without even starting the engine to pick up or drop the anchor. This was when we rounded Point Conception – the big elbow of the California coast, where the Channel Islands sit just south in an eddy of warmer current. We’ve had it all for weather; sitting out a gale, gorgeous hot and dry days of hiking and even a couple days of mist and rain, a relative rarity in this semi-desert climate. While we seem to have left the forests well behind us, the wildlife is still prolific and interesting: curious and endemic island foxes, loads of common and bottlenose dolphins, elephant seals snorting through the night at our anchorage, weird and wonderful Risso’s dolphins and bright orange Garibaldi’s (damselfish) are now swimming through the kelp, a sign of even more colourful fish to come as we head toward more tropical communities.

We are now anchored at Santa Catalina Island, still considered part of the Channel Islands, but not part of the National Park, a gradual re-intro to the civilized world. There’s a pub and a general store (we ate the last half onion last night, so fresh food is welcome) and lots of big shiny yachts and powerboats. We are definitely well below the average size of cruising boat down here.

California Species List

(in order of appearance)

Western Gull
Brown Pelican
Double-crested Cormorant
Common Murre
Common Loon
Turkey Vulture
White Pelican
California Sea lion
Harbour Porpoise
Brandt Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
White-crowned Sparrow
Snowy Egret
Brewer’s Blackbird
Elegant Tern
Western Grebe
House Finch
Yellow Warbler
Pygmy Nuthatch
American Coot
Western Scrub-Jay
Belted Kingfisher
American Crow
Common Raven
California Towhee
Western Tanager
Golden-crowned Sparrow
Heerman’s Gull
Red-winged Blackbird
Red-tailed Hawk
Fox Sparrow
California Gull
Ring-billed Gull
Dark-eyed Junco
Song Sparrow
Spotted Towhee
American Goldfinch
Northern Harrier
Say’s Phoebe
American Kestrel
Black Phoebe
Rufous-crowned Sparrow
White-tailed Kite
Orange-crowned Warbler
Pied-billed Grebe
Western Sandpiper
Greater Scaup
Semipalmated Plover
Pelagic Cormorant
Marbled Godwit
Long-billed Curlew
Canada Goose
Least Sandpiper
Pied-billed Grebe
Black-bellied Plover
Townsend’s Warbler
Cassin’s Auklet
Buller’s Shearwater
Short-beaked Common Dolphin
Common Bottlenose Dolphin
Pink-footed Shearwater
Anna’s Hummingbird
Mourning Dove
Bewick’s Wren
Western Sandpiper
Forster’s Tern
Red-necked Phalarope
Belted Kingfisher
Savannah Sparrow
House Wren
Orange-crowned Warbler
Marsh Wren
Spotted Sandpiper
American Avocet
Northern Flicker
Eared Grebe
Amercian Coot
Brown Creeper
Humpback Whale
Pigeon Gullimot
Northern Elephant Seal
Vesper Sparrow
Allen’s Hummingbird
Black Turnstone
Black Oystercatcher
Island Scrub-Jay
Island Fox

Blue Whale
Long-beaked Common Dolphin
Risso’s Dolphin
Western Meadowlark
Photos: Island Fox, Heerman's Gulls, Immature Elephant Seal, Long-beaked Common Dolphin, Risso's Dolphin