CopyRight @ 1997
Anacapa Island is where so many divers have started out. It's
only 14 miles due south out of Channel Islands Harbor in Ventura.
It's only about 1/4 mile at its widest point and about 5
miles long. It is the smallest of the California Channel Islands
and the nearest to shore.
Seen from a distance, it is ringed by cliffs. Seen up close, it is still mostly cliffs. The island looks like it is made of 2 parts. The eastern part is flat topped above the cliffs and looks rather comfortable. On top, it is a green pasture in spring. The western part of the island is mountainous and looks very unapproachable. Actually, Anacapa is three islands connected by rocky sandbars. These gaps are about 50 feet wide at present and it can be easy to row between them with the right tide.
There are some park service structures at the east end, including a water tower. To discourage people from shooting at it, they built a structure around it to look like a church. That did reduce the bullet flow some, but not entirely.
It is illegal to hike on any of the islands without a permit now, but there are natural landings with creeks or other features that will allow one to climb up above the shore.
There are some small beaches on the offshore side, but they are exposed and should be approached carefully.
The diving there tends to be excellent with clear water in large kelp beds. I refer to this island as one of the 'Catalina like' areas, because of the common conditions. Much of the year it has blue water with 50 to 70 feet of visibility.
You may find yourself diving in tidepools, along cliffs, in shallow kelp forests of the shore reefs or even on laminarea covered rock piles at well over 100 feet. Since the backside is rather exposed, it is unlikely that you can dive right along the shore there. The fronside is so calm and clear, that it is like diving in an aquarium. You can be in a beautiful cove ringed by with steeply sloping, kelp covered rocky shores. Towards the center of the cove, at perhaps 40 feet, the rock cliffs become isolated boulders and then sand. It used to be that there were always pink abalone at the bottom of the boulders, buried in the sand, but that was years ago.
At the very east end, is a large offshore arch in a large
beautiful clear kelp bed. There is miles of excellent diving front and