The North American Galapagos

The wild charm of the Channel Islands in California, an archipelago of wild peaks, sea lions, and blue whales

  • The North American Galapagos
  • The North American Galapagos
  • The North American Galapagos
  • The North American Galapagos

Pristine, secluded, and suspended in time. The Channel Islands, off the coast of Southern California, are so remote and rich in flora and fauna that they have earned the name of "the Galapagos of North America". This very unusual corner of California offers a veritable glance on what California must have looked like a few centuries ago.
Each of the five islands belonging to the Channel Islands National Park is a small world of its own, but they all share the same amount of wilderness and perfect isolation. The peace that will pervade once you reach them, either by boat (from Ventura or from Oxnard, a hundred kilometers north of Los Angeles) or on a tiny airplane, is definitely worth the trip.
Santa Barbara
At 1,5 square miles, Santa Barbara is the smallest of the Channel Islands. Roughly triangular, it emerges from the water with its steep rocky peaks and green patches. The island's flora and fauna have been saved and regenerated after years of exploitation by ranches and farms, and this has favored the return of birds, seals and sea lions.
Formed by three volcanic islets disconnected from each other except by boat, the island of Anacapa has as its symbol in the famous natural rock arch formed by sea erosion. The islet of Anacapa East can be explored along a two-mile trail system which allows visitors to experience the island's native vegetation, wildlife, and cultural history. We recommend going in winter, when nature comes alive with colors and thousands of seabirds use the island as a nesting area. Yet Anacapa’s most spectacular landmarks are the sheer cliffs and the sea caves. On its pebble coves and beaches, seals and sea lions are often spotted.
Santa Cruz
California's largest island recalls a miniature California in terms of fauna, flora and geology: rugged mountain ranges, valleys, deep canyons with year-round springs, extensive beaches and huge caves - including Painted Cave, one of the largest sea caves in the world, named after the amazing colors given by algae, lichens and rock stratifications. The remains of the Chumash civilization, which had established over ten villages on the island, are also remarkable.
Santa Rosa
The second largest Californian island, Santa Rosa, is dominated by the mountain range that rises in the heart of its territory. The coastline is variable, ranging from the broad, sandy beaches gently sloping toward the sea to sheer cliffs plunging toward the active ocean. While hiking and walking trails are suitable for everyone, water sports, especially surfing, require a certain expertise.
San Miguel
The westernmost island of the archipelago is basically a huge plateau emerging from the ocean and exposed to the violence of the winds. After centuries of exploitation from ranches and livestock breeding, the island is now regenerating and exploring it is an incredible experience, especially for its incredible fauna: seals, sea lions, small island foxes, deer mice and, right off the coast, dolphins, porpoises, gray whales, killer whales and even gigantic blue whales.

Author : The Slowear Journal


California  | Channel Islands  | natura selvaggia  | isole  |

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