I’ve been going through a slew of midterms for the past few weeks (5 midterms in a span of 2 weeks, to be exact), so I really needed a solid study break. Therefore, I signed up with USC Adventure Lead to go on a Sea Kayaking trip in the Channel Islands, part of a larger National Park located off the coast of Ventura Harbor.
I had always heard of these outdoorsy excursions that the Office of Campus Activities planned but had never actually been on one, and I REALLY wanted to try out sea kayaking. I was really surprised at how smooth and efficient the whole process was. We had a pre-trip meeting so that we could meet everyone else who was going and (most importantly) meet the people we were carpooling with. Then we were set.
On Sunday, September 29th, I awoke at 5:00 AM (!!!!) and met up with my carpool buddies because we were supposed to leave the USC Campus no later than 5:45 AM (!!!!). We drove to the Ventura Harbor, met up with the rest of the group, took an hour-long ferry ride to the Channel Islands (and saw SO MANY DOLPHINS on the ferry ride) and then began the real sea kayaking part!
I was afraid I would be really bad at paddling because I have a very limited amount of upper arm strength, but I was surprised to learn that there was a lot more involved in kayaking, and your legs really help out too. This was all explained to our group by our guide. Each guide led a few kayaks through the caves near the Santa Cruz Island, and we saw some really cool sea creatures in the process too.
My friend was a more experienced kayaker than I, so she sat in the back of our kayak while I was in the front. I have to say that just rowing through the open sea is one of the most blissful feelings I have ever experienced. The sea stretched out in front of me, I could feel the wetness of nature draped over me, and hear every muscle in my body stretching to put forth more power and row faster. The point of the excursion was more exploratory and not about racing or anything like that, but I’m a little competitive by nature so of course I tried to go as fast as I could. :)
We spent a good three hours rowing, after which I was WIPED OUT. We had some more time to explore the island and go hiking, etc. but I was pretty tired, so I took a nice nap in the sunshine and just dried off. Eventually we took the ferry back to Ventura Harbor and my fellow carpoolers and I finished off the day with some Jamba Juice on the way back to school!
Even as I write this blog, it feels surreal that I actually spent a whole day in the ocean in such a calm and serene environment. I was still so close to the hustle and bustle of downtown LA (and the currently very loud Zedd concert outside my window…) but the whole day felt like I was miles away in some sort of exotic location. I’m really glad that I decided to go on the trip, and I cannot wait to go on my next one. This was truly one of the best experiences I have had at USC.