The Wild Side of the Channel Islands

Photo Essay from 3 days of diving California’s northern Channel Islands
By Brent Durand

The kelp forests of California’s Channel Islands are mystical. They’re magical. They grow up to two feet a day and create a home for a wide variety of fish and critters from the water’s surface into the sand.

Bluewater Photo’s recent 3-day northern Channel Islands trip presented my first opportunity to dive the northernmost island, San Miguel, as well as log more days at the islands than I typically dive in a year. And I was stoked. And even more stoked after meeting all the other divers on the boat, the stellar crew of the Conception, and dropping anchor for dive one on a glassy kelp bed under sunny skies.

 


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San Miguel Island

They say that the first people to populate the Americas paddled their way down the kelp forests of the west coast and Channel Islands, venturing deeper into a wild and uncharted territory. And on descending through thick kelp onto large walls and channels reminiscent of northern Cali, I felt a sense of exploration raise the hairs on my neck.

 

San Miguel Island underwater

 

San Miguel Island underwater

 

San Miguel Island underwater

 

San Miguel Island underwater

 

Santa Cruz Island

After spending a full day at San Miguel, we ventured south in search of giant black sea bass, shallow kelps forests and their inhabitants: sea lions, harbor seals, huge sheephead, bat rays and abundant macro subjects.

 

Santa Cruz Island underwater

 

Santa Cruz Island underwater

 

Santa Cruz Island underwater

 

Santa Cruz Island underwater

 

Santa Cruz Island underwater

 

Further Reading

Author's Gear Profile

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brent Durand is a weekend wanderer and story teller from California.
BrentDurand.com   |  Facebook  |  Instagram

Brent is managing editor of the Underwater Photography Guide and shoots underwater any time he can borrow a camera system. He can be reached at brent@uwphotographyguide.com.

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