Travel So-Cal Destinations

Santa Rosa Island

Santa Rosa Island

An Island with a Rich Diversity of Life and Historical Significance

Officially part of Santa Barbara County and owned by the Channel Island National Park, the second largest (15 long x 10 miles wide) of the 8 Channel Islands nestled between Sand Miguel Island (3.6 miles west), and Santa Cruz Island (5.6 miles east). Santa Rosa Island is 46 miles southwest of Ventura Harbor and  26 miles from Santa Barbara/Goleta. By boat it takes around 3 hours to get there from Ventura Harbor. There is an earthquake fault line that runs east- west across the island from Sandy Point to Skunk Point. During the 1812 earthquake, a crevice 1000 feet long, 100 feet wide and 50 feet deep, opened on the island in the vicinity of Lobo Canyon (west of Carrington Point).  There is quite the diversity of terrain from flat grasslands to mountains with sandy beaches for breeding harbor and elephant seals to eastern tip with a coastal marsh to volcanic columns of cliffs. The entire island is surrounded with kelp beds. Scuba diving can be challenging here due to the distance and prevailing winds, swell, and strong ocean currents.  When it is conducive to diving, it can be fantastic.
Full Sized Map of Santa Rosa Island

Talcott Shoal

One of the dive sites, Talcott Shoal is a serious favorite and is known for lobster diving and hunting.  It has a vast open area of rocks, ledges, nooks and rocks from shallow to deep. It can be quite surgy in shallow.  3 ship wrecks are also still available for diving - Aggi Wreck, Goldenhorn Wreck, and S.S. Chickasaw.  The Aggi with a cargo of beans and barley was lost in  May 1915 and now lays in 25 to 50 feet of water along a ridge that today is basically scattered steel beams and plate.  The Goldenhorn with a cargo of grain was lost in September 20, 1892 when it was 100 miles off course due to fog and strong currents; some structure is still evident.  S.S. Chickasaw grounded in 1962, is probably the most popular wreck due to visibility above the water line.

Did You Know?
More than 600 archaeological sites have been identified.  The oldest fossils include one human dating back to over 13,000 years and a pygmy mammoth that stood 4 to 6 feet. It has also had more oil exploration than any other Channel Island; 12 wells were dug and no oil was found.

From Ventura Harbor (interactive map directions), these are the Boats we use to go to Santa Rosa Island:
  • Peace Boat
  • Spectre
  • Raptor
Most weekend departures are at 2 am, and you sleep on-board the night before.  Check the Calendar for each Trip's and Boat's details.