Daisy, an 8th grader from Brooklyn, knows a thing or two about travel writing. Her mom, Jocelyn Zuckerman, is one of the most inspirational travel writers, a Condé Nast Traveler contributing editor, and a professor at Columbia University's journalism school. So Daisy's got this reporting stuff pretty much locked in her DNA. We're so excited to share her perspective on California's sunny Channel Islands, just off the shores of Santa Barbara. Can't wait to hear more from this awesome junior correspondent.
Santa Cruz Island is a fantastic adventure for both parents and the little ones. Wake up early and have an easy breakfast. Pack a lunch, sunscreen, bathing suit, and water shoes, and get ready to have a blast! Drive down to Ventura Harbor and board a small ferry called Island Packers. If you know you get seasick, remember to bring medicine, because it can get a little bumpy out there. There will be plenty of well-educated people who can answer your questions and tell the kids about the island. There’s a snack bar where you can buy drinks, chips, granola bars – whatever you’re in the mood for. If you don’t feel the need for a nice breeze, stay inside the cabin for the most part, but make sure to go out at some point and take a look at the ocean. When we went, we saw a bunch of dolphins right next to the boat and a whale farther away. If you’re a person who loves to document experiences with pictures (like me!), bring a camera.
When you arrive at Santa Cruz Island, find your leader and put on bathing suits (or wetsuits, if it’s cold) and equipment. You’ll be led down to the water with a kayak and taught how to paddle. Sit down in your boat and let your leader gently push your kayak into the water. Don’t be scared of falling out or getting stuck, because your leader will be right next to you. Paddle through the gorgeous water and listen to your leader explain the island and what to do when you go through a cave. If you don’t want to go through, just let him/her know, and you can wait outside (but you’ll miss out!). If you do go through, be sure to take a look at the fascinating rocks above and on either side of you. If you’re lucky, you might even see some seals or sea lions. Don’t get too close, though!
As you journey through the cool sea caves and look down into the crystal water, ask about anything you’re wondering. When you think you’ve had enough kayaking (or your arms ache like crazy), tell your leader and he/she will lead you back to the island. Dry off and eat your packed lunch. If you have time before a ferry comes to pick you up, go for a hike and see all the weird animals and plants. There are over 600 plant species and 120 kinds of land birds on Santa Cruz. Take as many pictures as you can. When it’s time to go back to the mainland, take in everything and notice the cool breeze on your face. The gift shop at Ventura Harbor has souvenirs you can buy to remember the fun you had. In my opinion, the best way to end a great day is to have great food, so take a 30-minute drive down to Azu, a really good tapas restaurant in Ojai.