Sea Kayaking with Santa Barbara Adventure Company

On our last day at Santa Cruz island we booked a sea kayaking tour with Santa Barbara Adventure Company. While we’ve done our share of flat water kayaking, this would be our first time kayaking out at sea.

The normal cost of this tour without the ferry or camping fees is $125 during the time of booking. One useful tip for finding additional discounts is to sign up for the company’s newsletters as they generally have promotional deals. We ended up applying 2 promotional deals on our reservation, one for advanced reservation discount and the other for group discount. The final cost for the tour was about $110 per person after taxes.

We met our tour guides at the harbor Sunday morning at 10:30AM. About half of the people on the tour came to the island just for the day for kayaking and the other half camped overnight. Water shoes, wet suits and rain jacket were all provided by the company. After a quick safety lesson with the whole group, we broke off in a small group of 8 with our guide Janelle and began the tour.

I imagine each sea kayaking experience can vary widely depending on the weather, condition of the sea/tides and how adventurous the group is. The waves were a little choppy around the caves when we were out at sea, Janelle left it to us to decide if we wanted to maneuver through them. Since I was sharing a kayak with Louis, we were pretty comfortable maneuvering through the caves. Although there were some close calls (see video below), we never capsized our kayak!

Overall, the tour took about 3 hours to complete. If you are not sure you can handle the entire 3 hours of kayaking at sea, there is an option half through the tour to be dropped at the beach if you’ve had enough of the choppy conditions.

Good to Know
Overall we enjoyed the tour immensely and would encourage all to try it out if you ever visit the Santa Cruz island. Below are a couple of things that are good to know to prepare for the tour:

  1. Bring your own water shoes if you already have them at home. Although the company provides water shoes, given the primitive condition on the island, it’s nearly impossible for the company to keep them as clean as I would like.
  2. Mount a GoPro or something similar to your helmet if you want to take any videos or photos. The conditions out at sea are pretty choppy and you will not want to risk taking your camera out in the midst of paddling.
  3. Make sure to eat something before you start the tour. The tour is about 3 hours from 10:30-12:30 and all the paddling will leave you hungry if you had an early breakfast. This will also help alleviate potential sea sickness.
  4. If you are renting a double kayak, make sure you and your partner coordinate each other’s moves. This makes maneuvering through narrow sea caves and choppy water so much easier!

See below for some of the sea cave videos Louis captured on his camera.


Overview of Santa Cruz Island- Channel Islands National Park

IMG_0400.JPGChannel Islands National Park has long been on our list of places to visit. Since Louis’s birthday fell on a Friday this year, I made an executive decision to celebrate his birthday by visiting Santa Cruz Island within Channel Islands National Park. Out of the five islands within the National Parks jurisdiction, Santa Cruz island is the most frequently visited island. Ferries to and from the island are available at least once a day.

This post will be followed by a series of other posts detailing the hikes and kayaking activities during our stay at Santa Cruz island. Continue reading