Coke Smith Photography & Travelogue

Expedition to Anacapa & the Channel Islands

Giant Coreopsis blooming on an Anacapa hillside.


For my entire life prior to 2003, whenever I looked off the southern California coast, I would see the distant Channel Islands silhouetted on the horizon, thinking to myself, “I really got to get out there some day…”  But most of my life, they were just another place I had yet to visit in my home state of California (I lived in Cali for more than two decades).

Then one day in the fall of 2003, I got a call (or was it an email?) from someone named Greg McCormack (who has become a great friend now), inviting me to apply for a grant to participate in a program called LiMPETS, which was for Marine Biology instructors who wished to incorporate field experiences in to their classes.  Sounded good to me!  And it even included an all-expense-paid trip down to Santa Barbara and the Channel Islands National Park!  Well, I received the grant and the next thing I know I am down in So-Cal hanging out in the gorgeous Santa Barbara Mountains with Greg and a slew of other Marine Biology teachers from the around the west coast. 

We spent our Channel Islands time on the spectacular and remote island known as Anacapa.  We learned the LiMPETS protocol and spent some time exploring and photographing the island ecosystem.  While I was not there for all that long, I did capture enough of the region’s ecology to present a three hour lecture in one of my “World’s Wildest Places” classes. 


Please take a look at our North America Image Galleries!

California Scenes Image Gallery


Take a look at some of the images that I captured while there on lovely Anacapa Island!



Our NOAA vessel that was our main transport to and from Anacapa Island.



One of the many wet landings on Anacapa.  The lady in the water had about $5000 worth of camera gear in her wet pack...



 An endemic Coast Cholla (Opuntia species) found on Anacapa Island.




All the Marine Bio teachers practicing the LiMPETs protocal (quadrate analysis) in the tidal pools of Anacapa.  Be sure to check out the LiMPETS website - there are loads of my images on the site!



For some reason, NOAA liked my images.  This one even made the cover!  And many more images made their website!





The images on the far left and the middle are mine too.



Anacapa has fascinating geology.  The igneous origins are shown here.



Tide pools are near pristine on the island.



A giant Sea Hare found in the tide pools of Anacapa Island.




The Green Sea Anemone (Anthopleura sola) is a common species in the tide pools of Anacapa.  Note the anemone in the lower left that has just lost an "anemone war" as indicated by the white scars on its tentacles.