Entry #1076
5:07 PM, September 10th 2010:
...and sometimes, life hands you lemonade. All you have to do is drink it.
It really was as simple and spontaneous as the opening words portray. A girl my mother introduced me to back in Columbus had always wanted to go to the Channel Islands off the coast of California (islands I had no idea existed), and she planned an entire adventure. All I had to do was say yes. There's no surer bet on the planet. If it makes for a good entry video? I'm there. And this could've made for 100...
Breathtaking at every turn. However, some of those turns were carrying 80 pounds of water and supplies with 18 inch paths and 200 foot drops. Yes, water... bring your own. No running water, no electricity and a minimum stay of 4 days. All that on a deserted island with less than 15 people. So, it's kinda like the lemonade I was handed, was spiked with vodka... but the girl handing it to me...

(sigh) Men do really stupid things for a pretty face. My track record would venture to say I've done more than most. But I was honestly so impressed that a female would be this adventurous, there was no turning this down. And come on, after Africa last year? This was nothin'.


Except that it really was something. Your introduction to this island is hiking 5-600 feet up to a camp site nearly a mile away, though while gorgeous, it's a pretty remarkable physical feat. Two people carrying 10 gallons of water (80 pounds by itself) as well as all of your food and supplies? Simply put, the majority of people just wouldn't even attempt this.


The pictures do no justice to just how big these drop offs were. 40 mph gusting winds and no hand rails? Why the hell didn't we sign waivers to stay on this island? It astounds me that no one has died here. Space is extremely limited (booked months in advance) so only a couple hundred people a year even see it... but it sure seems awfully dangerous to me.


See that tiny little white spot, middle of the picture off to the right? That's the where I am in the above picture, so you can see that drop below. Again, totally breathtaking... but unfortunately that's kinda literal. I did slip a couple times and one good gust of wind, and whew. But it's all worth while for shots like this...

HAHAHA. This was supposed to be a "Agistri Island" Greece rock pose but pretty much the last thing I want to do is being intro-fucking-spective right now. Goofy is far more pleasant.

Each campsite (10 total on the entire island) was thankfully blocked by a wooden fence as the winds were a sustained 30 mph with some gusts on the last night hitting close to 50. However, when the clouds cleared? Look at this view from our tent:

Whew. Now I don't want to sugar coat it. It got pretty cold, and a lot of the time we were literally IN the clouds, but it was moments like this that we just sat in awe.

Like, this was commonplace the first day or two. And you're thinking:  "Whoopee. I feel like I'm in an N64 game. Hot damn" (suuuuuch a geek reference. Sorry to the normal people). But the clouds break and blammo:


So it really is a roll of the dice. However, no matter the weather? The place is as close as I've felt to being in another country without actually being in another country. It reminded me so much of Malindi, Kenya... but there was NOBODY THERE! So spooky. So cool. Oooh oooh, speaking of spooky...


What we assume were sea lion bones right next to an apparent shipwreck with wood and rope everywhere. It was so close to the top however, it felt like some kids' sandbox exhibit: "Pretend you're an archaeologist!" Still remarkably cool to dig stuff up and piece it together. Which of course meant you found things in varying stages of decay...


Awww. I mean, yeah that's really gross - but that's life. Kinda cool how the skin pulled back away from the skull isn't it? I'm certainly my mother's son when it comes to this shit. She thinks this is just as cool as I do. Her first question when I told her about this stuff: "DID YOU BRING ME A BONE?!!?" :-). Yes, but don't tell anyone. We weren't supposed to.


There were of course plenty of living sea lions and these cool Elephant Seal mofos, but I'm saving all that for its own entry. I had quite a little "dance" with these creatures and it made for a cute video. Suffice to say, they want to beat your ass before you club theirs no matter how cute they look. Heh.


On the other end of the scale was what I've dubbed a "dogfly" as this little bugger dug this entire tunnel like a dog as you saw in the video. There's apparently dozens of species on this island that can be found nowhere else on the world, including the Island Fox...


The Urocyon littoralis littoralis of San Miguel Island is what that little critter is and according to Wikipedia as of 1999 the population had plummeted to 15 adults on San Miguel. Each island has it's own sub-species of Fox. They're no bigger than a cat. Pretty cool I caught one on camera.


Dubbed the Galapagos Islands of North America, it was really cool to spot all the different types of animals and insects. Granted, they're all variations of what you can find on the mainland, but knowing there's nowhere else on the planet that these species exist is pretty special. As is flying down a sand dune so fast you think you're gonna break your legs.

Hahaha. I really am just pushing life until I really break something and am forced to just sit and watch old videos and pictures. At least I have those. :-)

We ended up getting plenty burnt (which I simply never do), and doing a bit of research I believe I was actually WIND burnt. A few days of 30 mph winds full of sand in your face? Yeah, it whips you up pretty good. I've finally peeled off this hard almost-cocoon type layer off my nose from it all. Jesus her teeth are white. Ha.


To anyone who wants to try this adventure (and there's much more accomadations on the other islands - we just picked the hard one) IslandPackers.com is where to go. Really cheap - round trips to the islands at $75 with $15 a night camping? Sheeeeeeit. It's an absolute steal. I'm considering doing it again by myself in the near future.

Oh, and check your tires and have a spare. My dumbass HAD a spare...
Yes, I got a second flat and we were stuck in Ventura for the night. Nothin' but adventure with Mr. Kontras. (sigh)
And of course, just a massive thank you to Tammy who put this together. Yes, I said her name, yes I showed her picture, and no we aren't getting married. Ha. I know that for the past decade I have been extremely cautious on who I mention or show on this site because of the immense amount of pressure that is added when I do... but in this case, I'm not gonna avoid thanking someone for such a precious gift. If you read the last entry, you know I am in an awful place right now - and simply put: I had to have a week like this. Had to. It has meant everything to me, and I am soooooooo grateful for the opportunity she gave me. I hope she enjoyed it as much as I did...
...and now she goes back to her life, and I go back to mine. There is beauty in that life. It's devoid of disappointment. It's devoid of heartbreak, and it is filled with colorful memories and untainted happiness. That's exactly what I want. Chapters in my life that I can look back on with massive smiles, huge laughs and wonderful adventures. That's the best I can do.
Adam vs. The Sea Lions up next.