Preparing for a Channel Islands Trip
Channel Islands Tips
You can get dive gear, rentals (including tanks and weights) and fishing licenses at the Sea Landing Dive Center right at the dock. Call them early to reserve rentals. They stay open until midnight.
As for hotels, we like the Marina Beach Motel, a couple blocks from the harbor. With comfy beds, a great continental breakfast and bikes free of charge make for a nice tour of downtown Santa Barbara. Or, on the East side of town, a taxi drive away, is a nice Motel 6. Best to make reservations, particularly if you’re staying over the 4th of July– the SB beach goes OFF!
There are daily flights into Santa Barbara and Los Angeles, two hours south of Santa Barbara. The Santa Barbara airport is approximately 15 minutes from the harbor. The AmTrak depot is near the SB Harbor, the Coast Lounger is a comfortable, green way to travel by train!
If you have specific food allergies or are vegan/vegetarian, please let us know so we can inform Truth Aquatics before they do their grocery shopping for the trip. They will gladly make special meals for people with dietary needs. Kristy always requests fresh fruit and dark chocolate!
Check out this link to Truth Aquatics fleet and their bunk diagram to see the ship’s layout. The main dive deck offers three toilets and two deck showers for a hot water rinse after the dive. Downstairs, there is a large shower room where you can keep your towel and toiletries on hooks, with sinks and blow-dryers, space for shaving, and 2 private showers.
The bunks have pillows and blankets– a vinyl covered foam mat and a privacy curtain. Most have a reading light and a small shelf. It’s easier to store a duffel bag than a suitcase. Many people bring their own sleeping bag or sheets for extra comfort.
Get to the harbor early the night of boarding to find parking and unload (there are “wheel barrows” available to move gear). After setting up my gear and bunk, I like to eat at the Endless Summer Bar and Grille (upstairs) or Brophy Brothers for great clam chowder.
After signing the manifest and waivers in the galley, assemble your BC, regulator and tank in a holder bungeed to the center gear deck; weight belt next to tank. Fit your mask, snorkel, fins, boots, gloves, hood, lights and other personal effects (preferrably in a mesh bag) onto the center gear platform. Secured everything for the crossing. Hang exposure suits in the lazaret (down a ladder at the stern). Bring a personalized hanger (with your name or other identifying feature). Suits will dry in the laz overnight, and there is a dryer for your towel.
There will be a dive safety briefing the first morning. Once the boat is anchored, the gates will be open for diving until we decide to leave. Some want to do 7 dives, some will prefer to do 2 and then sunbathe or read– it’s your vacation! We typically dive three to four sites per day, plus night anchorages. Coming up from the dive on the swim step, crew will be available to help you remove your fins or heavy gear.
INSURANCE: Most divers-in-the-know use DAN Dive Accident Insurance. We also strongly encourage purchasing Divers Alert Network Travel Insurance. They offer competitive rates, and your money goes to a fantastic program. DAN has helped many of our guests (including ourselves) recoup money for medical expenses and lost dives from even minor maladies; unfortunately, we have also seen a few divers need helicopter rides to a decompression chamber. Insurance gives you the ability to listen to symptoms which otherwise you might ignore.
See you on the bottom!