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California’s Offshore Channel Islands
Southern California is regarded by author and renowned sailor, Brian Fagan as being home to some of the best cruising grounds in the world for boaters. The 8 offshore Channel Islands are home to a multitude of diverse and endemic flora, fauna and sea life. Warm currents from Mexico swirl with the cool currents from Alaska along this archipelago creating what Jaques Cousteau regarded as some of the best diving in the world. Jean Michele Cousteau’s Ocean Futures Society today continues to protect these incredible waters.
The 8 Channel Islands are divided up into two groups, 4 northern islands and 4 southern islands, they include:
San Miguel Island, Santa Rosa Island, Santa Cruz Island, Anacapa Island
Santa Barbara Island, San Nicolas Island, Santa Catalina Island, San Clemente Island
The four northern islands and Santa Barbara island make up the 390 square miles of the Channel Islands National Park and the 1110 square nautical miles of the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary.
Those that have visited the Channel Islands know of their beauty and return frequently to this unparalleled space.
The southern Channel Islands are home to world famous Santa Catalina Island known for the Catalina Island Conservancy established by the Wrigley family who successfully developed the city of Avalon in the early 1900’s.
San Clemente and San Nicolas islands are navy/military islands controlled and run by the U.S. Navy. Access to these islands is extremely limited. Those that have stepped foot on all 8 of the Channel Islands belong to the most elite club in the world, The “All 8 Club” with just over 180 members, it was established by the Santa Cruz Island Foundation. SunSwept Sailing’s founder and owner, Captain Spencer J. MacRae belongs to the All 8 Club and cruises the Channel Islands nearly every week.