RARE CHANCE: One of the rather great things about living in a get-anything-any-ol'-time society is that, well, yes, shoes and spices and particular issues of vintage comic books and your formerly lost high school yearbook and a thousand other things can be easily accessed, sometimes overnight, with a few keystrokes and a visit to the right commerce site. It's an extraordinary time, with no other time period to match, and we do battle between appreciating the ease of access and growing complacent that anything can be had and enjoyed at the snap of our fingers (and the brandishing of our credit cards). But this doesn't hold fully true. For example, there are places, here in Southern-meets-Central California, that cannot be known because someone decides, that morning, to know it. They're a little harder to reach, requiring some expertise on the part of others or your own special craft, and this all goes into making the experience more tantalizing, more slightly beyond, and not quite so simple. It's a delicious challenge, in short, but Island Packers is up for it, at least a couple of times a year when the Ventura-based boat concessionaire for the Channel Islands makes the trip to Cueva Valdez.
AND PAINTED CAVE, TOO: There some of the least called-upon areas of Channel Islands National Park, even though they're on Santa Cruz Island, which is pretty much the most popular island to see. The cove and cave are located at Santa Cruz's west end, a side that isn't seen, by boat drop-offs, nearly as much as the eastern side. The "natural and human history" of the beautiful area will be shared by an Island Packer guide and time for picnicking and exploring shall be made. Taking in the island's spectacular north shore is part of the adventure, as is the Santa Barbara Channel crossing, which may yield dolphin or whale sightings. But while the dates to do the Channel Islands are plentiful, there are just two on the calendar for Cueva Valdez and Painted Cave: Aug. 8 and Oct. 11. If you've ever wanted to experience a sea cave, you can, here near home. They're not just in movies or travel brochures from places across the globe. And that the word "unspoiled" springs to mind upon seeing the cave only adds to its allure. Perhaps it is a good thing that in our ease-of-access world, a few jaunts are a little rarer and, perhaps, more of an anticipated treat.
TICKETS, TIMES... and Island Packers information are this way.