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National park tips: Kayakers get thrills and spills in caves along this Channel Island

A string of kayaks approaches Scorpion Anchorage on Santa Cruz Island, busiest of the islands in Channel Islands National Park.
A string of kayaks approaches Scorpion Anchorage on Santa Cruz Island, busiest of the islands in Channel Islands National Park.
(Christopher Reynolds / Los Angeles Times)

For my money, the wet edges of California’s Channel Islands National Park are more interesting than their dry middles.

Sure, the island foxes are cute (and their numbers are growing). But sea kayaking along the caves of East Santa Cruz island is thrilling — and terrifying if a rogue swell fills a cave while you’re inside or nearby.

Here’s a list of kayak outfitters with permits for the area: If you’d rather be a passenger on a bigger boat, Island Packers is the concessionaire that takes visitors to the islands from Ventura.

In honor of this year’s National Park Service centennial, the Travel section is posting 100 park travel ideas and tips based on trips staff travel writer Christopher Reynolds has taken, along with photo-op advice from Times photographer Mark Boster. We’ll post one per day through Dec. 31.

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Follow Reynolds on Twitter: @MrCSReynolds

See travel videos by Reynolds from around the world.

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