Monday, May 31, 2010

San Miguel Island

San Miguel Island is one of the furthest west of the channel islands, and is often subject to severe weather, so not many people go out there very often. It is, of course, closest to Point Conception, so I went there first on my way towards the mainland. I then stopped at the other islands as I passed them, and will do a post about each in turn. On the way to San Miguel, the weather was dead calm, and I was motoring along and saw some Risso's Dolphins. They are really cool looking, with a high dorsal fin that looks sharky.
When I anchored in this little bay surrounded by elephant seals (which, I have decided, sound a lot like wookies having sex) and paddled ashore and climbed a cliff of sand to visit the hilltop. The vegetation is nothing like the other islands out here; it seems native, and there are no grasses anywhere that I saw, only sage-like things and succulents and funny palm trees that are about 2 ft tall. When I was climbing up the sandy cliff (super scary) I also got the feeling that the rocks were burned. Like the whole island was freshly volcanic or something. It reminded me of when I went out to Mt St Helens one time, and saw the scorched earth.
I met a fisherman in the bay there and he invited me aboard his boat, and we got to talking, and...
It turns out that the island was firebombed a lot back around WW2 for practice. I guess that's like volcanism...
San Miguel has a wonderful harbor, but I didn't really need it, because despite the reputation for nasty weather, I had nothing of the kind while I was there. I really liked the plants though.

1 comment:

Rachel said...


Glad to see you made it around! I have been checking in every day for a week... what took you so long? I believe those plants are California buckwheat (the pink flowered one) and probably some kind of Yucca (both edible.)