From Joshua Tree National Park we hopped over to Fairways RV Resort (another military campground, and one of the nicest we’ve stayed at thus far) in Port Hueneme… just down the road from our next adventure. The following morning we took a boat ride from Oxnard Harbor out to Channel Island National Park… Santa Cruz Island to be precise.
On the way out we encountered a school of dolphin…
And shortly after spotted a few Humpback Whales. Seeing these marine creatures in the wild is always such a thrill.
Santa Cruz Island is known for for its numerous sea caves, including Painted Cave… one of the largest in the world. We did not include this in our excursion, but went ashore at Scorpion Ranch for a very wet hike… Cavern Point Loop Trail and returned via the North Bluff Trail. All totaled roughly 5 miles… much of it along a ridge high above the ocean. Mom Nature did her best to push us off with squally weather. One moment it was sunny and dry, the next howling winds and heavy rain. Needless to say we kept our distance from the cliffs.
As we came back toward the bay into Scorpion Campground we found a picnic table out of the wind where we could sit and enjoy a bite to eat. We no sooner sat down and pulled out our goodies when I spotted a fox making his way across a clearing. I grabbed my camera and trotted off in pursuit. He was clearly on the hunt, but was soon distracted and hightailed it back in the direction he came from. I followed, of course, and observed a little knock-down-drag-out between him (her) and another slightly smaller fox.
These are Island Fox… a species endemic to this island. The two them had quite a scuffle, and when they separated, the smaller of the two scurried off to a spot very close to where we were sitting. He sat there looking sad and forlorn for quite awhile… like he’d been taught a hard lesson and needed time to think about it.
And then there’s this guy who hopped right between me and the fox with a whole lot to say. Raven’s are obviously a very intelligent bird, but I’ve never found them attractive or appealing. Still trying to decide.
After resting for a bit we ventured around the campground, visitors center and museum. While doing so we spotted another fox. (I’m thinking it was the first fox I saw… the one who did the “beatin’ up” on the little guy. He had a wily look about him.) Anyway… as we watched and followed he became very attracted to something above him. He kept disappearing amongst the brush and then I’d spot him again. Next thing I knew he was up in a tree!
I found these Island Fox very entertaining. They’re rather goofy looking compared to our typical mainland fox. Longer in the neck for one, and this guy has a silly face. What appears to be buck-teeth is actually two little white patches on his chin.
A short while later we caught our boat back to the mainland, and set out the following morning for a special and significant place from my past- Santa Barbara. I’ll share the significance of this beautiful town in my next post.
For now… one last shot of Santa Cruz Island as we departed…