Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Kayak Fishing on Santa Cruz Island

Last week I hopped on a boat from Island Packers and went West to the Santa Cruz Islands. It was an early boat but nothing earlier than other fishing trips I've been on. The boat ride was about an hour and we saw all kinds of marine life on the drive over. We saw dolphins, birds and seals. As the boat slowed to a stop we unloaded at Scorpion Bay. The next step was to pack our gear to our campsite. We wandered up the trail looking for "campsite 9."

With our tents set up we ventured back down to shore to get in the kayaks. Now kayak fishing took much more preparation than I expected. We set sail (if that is what you call it) and began paddling. The ocean in that place is a marine reserve so no fishing allowed. After paddling about 15 mins we were fishing. We basically allowed the swell to slowly push us while we fished the cliffs. I caught four calico bass but none were large enough to keep.

It was getting later in the afternoon and time to head it. We had to paddle, into the wind and waves, for the next 60-90 mins. Just to be clear, this was my first time kayaking and I was not stoked on this part! I used to time to marvel at creation and think of the Native Americans who would have done fishing like this before me. I also thought about the Hawaiians who crossed much worse. I realized I was a wuss at this point.

We made it back to shore and boy was I happy! That night it was back to camp and in bed early. The next morning we were up and off again. This time we would adventure through caves, over kelp and travel to Potato Harbor. The sights were breath-taking. The prayer time was good. And the caves... well the caves scared me. I don't like tight spaces where the ocean is swelling and it can be dark. I'm probably overly exaggerating some of this but as marvelous as they were I was reminded of how small I am.

Through caves and into other caves we traveled down the coast. We landed at Potato Harbor for lunch and it was good to stretch our legs on land I threw some lures in the harbor and caught a small sand dap (he was a feisty one). The ocean was getting bigger and I was getting more fearful. I learned something about myself that trip. I had to press through some fears of sharks, drowning and irrational fears from my childhood. It was good that I did.

One of the guys wanted to move down the coast and fish more. Now I love fishing but honestly I was scared of the ocean waves (they look much bigger from a kayak). I had to speak up and decide it was time to head back. I wasn't looking for a fight against the wind again. As we paddled back it was increasing easier than the day before. The wind was at our back and ocean was pushing us. We ventured through another cave or two and I had to pray out loud in some of them.

Looking back it was an amazing trip that really stretched my faith, invited some fun in a time where my life is full of transition and reminded me how much I missed my family.

Thanks to my GoPro I have this video to share with you


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