The peaks of Channel Island National Park loom just off Southern California, inviting visitors to explore. But the islands' remoteness is daunting for some people.
Now Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic will make exploration easy with a pair of five-day cruises to the islands.
Lindblad, known for its adventure cruises to the Galápagos Islands and Antarctica, describes the Channel Islands cruises as "part-safari, part-adult camp."
Thousands of years of isolation created unique animals and plants on the five islands that make up the national park. Of the 2,000 species of plants and animals found, 145 exist nowhere else in the world.
Marine life is as diverse as microscopic plankton and the blue whale, the largest animal known to have lived on Earth.
The cruise, aboard the 62-passenger National Geographic Sea Lion, will depart from the Port of Los Angeles.
The itinerary will include East Anacapa Island, home to Anacapa Lighthouse; Santa Cruz, the largest island in California, with more than 60 endemic species found nowhere else in the world; Santa Rosa Island, known for its Torrey pines, considered one of the world's rarest pines; and San Miguel Island, which has more than 30,000 seals and sea lions.
On Santa Catalina Island, passengers may spot the elusive island fox, found only on the Channel Islands, or see the bison.
There also will be time to explore downtown Avalon, the island's only city.
Catalina is part of the Channel Islands chain, but not part of the national park.
Rates for the five-day/four-night cruises begin at $2,490 a person, double occupancy. Departures are Oct. 17 and 24.
Info: Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic, (800) 397-3348.