05 Jul Anacapa Island
Working at this park this past week has been incredible. This week was the first time I got off of the mainland and onto an island. We headed out to east Anacapa Island for eight days. The tour called for renovations on the visitor center. So far, I have not been prepared for the level of physicality that it has required. We arrived to catch our boat at nine in the morning. It was a rather foggy morning and visibility was greatly reduced. As we motored on across the channel, we saw a band of dolphins. Unfortunately no whales were spotted. Then out of the gloom rose the cliffs of the island. We came closer and closer until we were at the landing cove. The thing about visiting the island is that the boat cannot dock. Instead, an exercise called live boating occurs. Everyone aboard had to wait for the boat to be lined up to the ladder and instructed to cross. Now that we were on the docks, a real challenge began. All of the gear and supplies we brought had to be lugged up onto the island. When I say up, I literally mean it. The landing cove is at the bottom of 153 steps. It took over an hour to get all our stuff up the stairs and into the trailer attached to a tractor. Thankfully it all could be towed up from there. After a long break and a lunch we got right on the task at hand. We evaluated the southwest corner of the visitor center, which had sunk and cracked the foundation in two places. It was determined that a new drainage culvert would be dug and that we needed to dig down around the foundation to be able to repair it. In addition we will be fixing the concrete foundation and removing the old stucco and paint on the broken side. The first step had us removing all sorts of invasive plants from the native plants as we mapped out where the culvert would be dug. It is important to remove it so the national park can return to its historic and natural state. Since the first day that I have been here, I have had a shovel in my hand digging a trench. The next blog post I will be able to tell about how we wrapped up this project or at least prepped it for our next tour out here. For now I have another 55 hours of work ahead of me!