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California

Explore the “Island of the Blue Dolphins” With Your Grandchild

Program No. 22313RJ
Trace the footsteps of Karana from “Island of the Blue Dolphins,” learning about local Chumash culture, snorkeling the Channel Islands and experiencing the marine life up close.

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Age 9 - 12
ROOMING OPTION PRICING
The figures below indicate the rooming options available.
DATES
Jul 7 - Jul 12, 2024
Per Adult
2,549
Per Child
1,649
Select
Itinerary Note

Meals: 12 total (5 B, 4 L, 3 D)

Jul 7 - Jul 12, 2024
2,549
/ Adult
1,649
/ Child
2,549
/ Adult
1,649
/ Child
3,399
/ Adult
1,649
/ Child
Select Date
Itinerary Note

Meals: 12 total (5 B, 4 L, 3 D)

Jul 14 - Jul 19, 2024
Per Adult
2,549
Per Child
1,649
Select
Itinerary Note

Meals: 12 total (5 B, 4 L, 3 D)

Jul 14 - Jul 19, 2024
2,549
/ Adult
1,649
/ Child
2,549
/ Adult
1,649
/ Child
3,399
/ Adult
1,649
/ Child
Select Date
Itinerary Note

Meals: 12 total (5 B, 4 L, 3 D)

At a Glance

Can you imagine being left on an island all by yourself? That’s what happened to Karana, a young Nicoleño Indian girl in the classic tale "Island of the Blue Dolphins.” On this adventure with your grandchild, explore the waters around the Channel Islands that Karana might have explored and learn about the Chumash that live in Southern California. Learn to paddle a sea kayak, go snorkeling in a secluded cove with a kelp forest and see pelicans, harbor seals, whales, dolphins and porpoises in the wild!
Activity Level
Outdoor: Spirited
Stand for extended periods, hike up to 1 mile on uneven terrain, paddle a sea kayak (no experience necessary), wear a wet suit, snorkel in open waters.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 13 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Study the real story of Karana and learn about the history that inspired the book.
  • Travel by boat to Santa Cruz Island, within Channel Islands National Park, submerge yourself in the protected waters while you swim in a kelp forest.
  • Learn watersport techniques as you experience the thrill of ocean waves and kayak with the calm harbor waters.

General Notes

Program is for grandchildren ages 9-12. Wet suits and snorkel gear provided; personal wet suits or snorkel gear welcome.
Featured Expert
All Experts
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Margery Spielman
Margery Spielman is an accomplished environmental artist, lecturer, naturalist and professional diver. As a scuba instructor and stunt diver, she worked underwater on numerous television productions and for many years, worked on freelance assignments for The Cousteau Society, doing research, logistics, diving, speaking and illustrating. Described as a visionary realist, she’s exhibited her artwork in major Marine Art Expos from Hawaii to Paris. For over 25 years, Margery’s been the leading Naturalist in Road Scholar’s Channel Islands programs.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Margery Spielman
Margery Spielman View biography
Margery Spielman is an accomplished environmental artist, lecturer, naturalist and professional diver. As a scuba instructor and stunt diver, she worked underwater on numerous television productions and for many years, worked on freelance assignments for The Cousteau Society, doing research, logistics, diving, speaking and illustrating. Described as a visionary realist, she’s exhibited her artwork in major Marine Art Expos from Hawaii to Paris. For over 25 years, Margery’s been the leading Naturalist in Road Scholar’s Channel Islands programs.
Profile Image of Julie Tumamait-Stenslie
Julie Tumamait-Stenslie View biography
Julie Tumamait-Stenslie traces her Chumash ancestry through her father, a leader or “paha” among the Chumash. She proudly carries on the traditions of her ancestors as she educates about Chumash culture, history and song. Julie has worked with the Park Service and Hunter College in genealogical research, cataloging materials from area Mission archives. She was selected by the governor of California to sit on the North American Heritage Commission, which helps tribes to protect sacred native sites.
Profile Image of Alicia Stratton
Alicia Stratton View biography
Alicia Stratton grew up as an Air Force “brat,” living in Japan, Texas, and West Virginia, then settling in Ventura. She is a licensed boat captain and certified SCUBA diver, and holds a teaching credential. She worked for The Nature Conservancy, Island Packers as a naturalist/boat captain, and was the research and education coordinator for the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. Alicia served on the committee that established marine reserves around the Channel Islands. She has a bachelor's degree in environmental biology.
Profile Image of Susan Morris
Susan Morris View biography
Susan Morris has been conducting historical research involving the Channel Islands since 1987. With a bachelor’s in journalism and a certificate in archaeology, she has participated in field studies on seven of the eight Channel Islands. She was the principal investigator of a cave-associated archaeology survey on Santa Rosa Island. Passionate about solving historical mysteries, her focus of the past eight years has been historical research for the Island of the Blue Dolphins website hosted by Channel Islands National Park.
Profile Image of Dawn Brooks
Dawn Brooks View biography
Dawn Brooks has three decades of experience leading group travel wilderness adventures. In 2002, Dawn joined the Channel Islands Naturalist Corps, volunteering on local whale watching boats to educate the public about marine wildlife. Dawn is an experienced kayak expert on Anacapa Island and Santa Cruz Island. She leads multi-day group camping trips on Santa Cruz Island and sails to remote anchorages on all five islands of the Channel Islands National Park.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
The Life and Adventures of George Nidever
by George Nidever (Author), William Henry Ellison (Author)
The Life Story Of A Remarkable California Pioneer Told In His Own Words, And None Wasted.
Ocean: A Visual Encyclopedia
by John Woodward
Full of fun facts, beautiful photos and colorful graphics, this encyclopedic introduction covers everything from sea creatures and birds to the Great Barrier Reef, from the Arctic to the Caribbean. Perfect for curious children ages 8 through 12.
Santa Cruz Island: A History of Conflict and Diversity
by John Gherini
In this thorough history of the largest Channel Island, Gherini introduces the Chumash Indians who lived on the island in pre-Columbian times and details early European explorers and the Spanish-Mexican period, when the island became a haven for smugglers.
Islands Apart: A Year on the Edge of Civilization
by Ken McAlpine
McAlpine travels solo through Channel Islands National Park in California for week-long stretches while returning to the mainland intermittently. He mixes both experiences in this meditation on contemporary American life.
Images of America: The California Channel Islands
by Marla Daily
This Images of America installment introduces all eight of the Channel Islands, located off the coast of Southern California. Features archival photographs.
Justinian Caire and Santa Cruz Island: The Rise and Fall of a California Dynasty
by Frederic Claire Chiles
This history of one of California’s Channel Islands covers everything from the island’s original Chumash population to its acquisition by the Nature Conservancy. Special attention is paid to the 50 years when the island was owned by Justinian Caire and family. The author, a descendant of the Caire family, uses family archives to flesh out his tale.
Island of the Blue Dolphins: The Complete Reader's Edition
by Sara Schwebel
This special edition includes two excised chapters, published here for the first time, as well as a critical introduction and essays that offer new background on the archaeological, legal, and colonial histories of Native peoples in California
Channel Islands National Park
by National Geographic Maps
A National Geographic Trails Illustrated map of the Channel Islands at a scale of 1:50,000. Waterproof, durable and tear-resistant, it is the perfect map to take along to the islands.
The Secrets of Kelp Forests: Life's Ebb and Flow in the Sea's Richest Habitat
by Howard Hall (Author), Jean-Michel Cousteau (Creator), Vicki León (Editor)
The Secrets of Kelp Forests, from the Jean-Michel Cousteau Presents series, brings this amazingly rich wilderness to life.
Island of the Blue Dolphins
by Scott O'Dell
The gripping story of a courageous American Indian girl left abandoned by her tribe on an island off the California coast. Recommended for children ages 12 and up. Karana's struggle to survive is riveting.
Diary of a Sea Captain's Wife: Tales of Santa Cruz Island
by Margaret Holden Eaton
Margaret Eaton and her husband Ira were well known to Santa Barbarans in the early part of this century as operators of the Pelican Bay Camp on Santa Cruz Island. Beginning humbly with small-scale commercial fishing, seal hunting and passenger charters, the Eatons gradually developed a unique resort that came to be popular among writers, film companies and people from all over the country. Working from her diary and her memories, Mrs. Eaton wrote this extraordinary story of her life over a period of many years.
Coyote Rescues Hawk
by Alan Salazar
A Chumash Story & History of the Tomol-an Ocean Plank Canoe
Zia
by Scott O'Dell
In this sequel to the beloved Newbery Medal-winning classic Island of the Blue Dolphins, readers can learn what happened to Karana after she left the island.
Channel Islands National Park
by Susan Lamb (Author) & George H. H. Huey (Photographer)
The five remarkable islands of Channel Islands National Park preserve a part of California many visitors thought had long vanished. This isolated maritime sanctuary of natural and human history is a short boat ride from the urban areas of Southern California. The environment provides a serene habitat for many species of birds, marine mammals, wildlife, and plants - plus archeological sites that mark nearly 13,000 years of human presence.
Field Guide to Whales, Dolphins and Porpoises
by Mark Carwardine
This outstanding new field guide to whales, dolphins and porpoises is the most comprehensive, authoritative and up-to-date guide to these popular mammals.
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6 days
5 nights
13 meals
5 B 4 L 4 D
DAY
1
Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Ventura, California
D
Ventura Beach Marriott

Activity note: Hotel check-in from 3:00 p.m. Remember to bring your nametag (sent previously).

Afternoon: Program Registration: 4:00-5:15 p.m. After you have your room assignment, join us at the Road Scholar table in the lobby to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing the up-to-date schedule that reflects any changes, other important information, and to confirm the time and location of the Orientation session. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in. Orientation: 5:30 p.m. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. This is a Road Scholar Grandparent program. Grandparents are responsible for their grandchildren at all times. If/when separate age group activities are conducted concurrently, program staff will supervise. Minors are never to be left unsupervised. Periods in the schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: We’ll get a detailed overview of tomorrow’s field trip from our Group Leader. Then, continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

DAY
2
Carpinteria State Beach and Salt Marsh Nature Park
Ventura, California
B,L,D
Ventura Beach Marriott

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 17 miles, approximately 1/2 hour. Walking up to 1 mile; sidewalks, sandy beach. Dress in layers, wear appropriate footwear for walking in sand. Use caution on rocks.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: On the Carpinteria State beach interpretive site — our outdoor classroom — we will learn about tomols with a local expert which were built and used by the local native communities to get to and from the Channel Islands. The Chumash used redwood, tar, and other natural materials found in the local area to build their tomols and regularly sailed between islands and to the mainland. We will build a replica tomols out of paper and string that we can bring home. Learn about the Chumash story of the Rainbow Bridge and the connection the “Island of the Blue Dolphins” story. We will finish our day at Carpinteria State Beach with a walk along the beach to find shells, kelp, and other creatures which Karana would have seen on the islands.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: We will continue our exploration of California habitats with a walk in the Carpinteria Salt Marsh Nature Park with our naturalist. Learn about the plants and animals that call the salt marsh home and why these habitats are important to humans and animals. We’ll board the motorcoach for return to the hotel, marveling at the breathtaking coastline along our way. Once we return to the hotel, we will regroup in a hotel meeting room to do a craft before dinner.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: We’ll be joined by a member of the local Chumash Tribe to learn about some of the legends and stories passed down through the tribe for generations.

DAY
3
Channel Island National Park Visitor Center
Ventura, California
B,L
Ventura Beach Marriott

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 5 miles, approximately 1/4 hour. Walking up to 1.5 miles; flat sidewalks. Extent and duration of walking and other activities during independent exploration according to personal choice.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will start our day with a presentation from a local expert about Karana's world. Learn about local Chumash culture and Chumash womens' daily lives on the Channel Islands. We’ll board a motorcoach at the hotel and ride to the Channel Islands National Park Largomarsino Visitor Center in Ventura Harbor. There, we will have an opportunity to watch a short movie, “Treasure in the Sea,” narrated by Kevin Costner. We will also meet and talk with park personnel, walk through the native plant garden, and view exhibits that highlight the natural and cultural features of the islands. Channel Islands National Park and its 175 miles of pristine coastline are within 60 miles of 18 million people, yet it has fewer than 300,000 visitors a year — quite low for an American national park! We’ll then have some time for independent exploration to browse and enjoy the scenic view from the tower before walking into Harbor Village.

Lunch: At a restaurant along the harbor.

Afternoon: Returning to the hotel, the remainder of the afternoon is free.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: At the hotel we will meet a local expert who will lead our examination of the fictional life of Karana, heroine of “Island of the Blue Dolphins.” The book was inspired by the real-life story of a Native American who became known as the “Lone Woman of San Nicholas Island.” (San Nicolas Island is now owned by the U.S. Navy and not open to the public.) She apparently survived alone from 1835 until she was found in 1853 and taken to the mainland.

DAY
4
Island Orientation, Snorkeling Class, Kayaking in the Harbor
Ventura, California
B,L,D
Ventura Beach Marriott

Activity note: Water activities in hotel pool. Getting in/out of sea kayaks available for single and double riders; single riders must be at least 12 years old. Paddling up to approximately 2 hours. Dress in layers, wear clothes that can get wet.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We’ll learn from local experts how to properly navigate sea kayaks, then take to the water in Ventura Harbor. We’ll think about how the Chumash tribe used their own version of the kayak — the tomol — for fishing and recreation. Tomols were propelled with kayak-like paddles, but riders had to be in the crouching position instead of sitting down. Kayaks are the world’s most popular self-propelled watercraft, used to explore rivers, lakes, and oceans around the globe. Today’s kayaks, the most modern and technologically advanced, are very much like those made long ago. Even with advances in computer software, naval engineering, and modern materials, the intuitive carpenters of centuries ago created a useful design that has stood the test of time.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: We’ll be joined by a local expert who will tell us about Santa Cruz Island in preparation for tomorrow’s field trip. We’ll also have preparation for the boat ride to/from, hiking on, and snorkeling within the island. Channel Islands National Park is comprised of five of the eight Channel Islands, each with a surrounding mile of aquatic environment. The islands are divided into two groups: the Northern islands and Southern islands. Historically, the Chumash people occupied the Northern islands while the Tongva lived on the Southern islands until the early 19th century, when they were relocated to Spanish missions and pueblos. These Native American populations used canoes to travel freely between the islands and the mainland. The park today is home to more than 2,000 animal and plant species; nearly 150 are found nowhere else. Next, we’ll cover the basics of snorkeling from expert divers and be fitted for our wetsuits and snorkeling gear. The class will be held in the hotel pool so that we can become comfortable with the gear and practice snorkeling.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: We will be joined by a local musician for some entertainment. Then, get plenty of rest for our big day tomorrow. Remember to bring your personal, reusable water bottle to the island.

DAY
5
Santa Cruz Island, Nature Hike
Ventura, California
B,L,D
Ventura Beach Marriott

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 5 miles, approximately 1/4 hour. Getting in/out of a boat; riding approximately 1 hour to small pier, stepping off boat onto a ladder and climbing up a few rungs to the landing. Due to cold water conditions (55°-70°F), wetsuits (provided) recommended for snorkeling. Walking up to 2 miles; uneven terrain, elevation change of up to 300 feet. Bring your personal, reusable water bottle to the island.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Boarding a motorcoach, we will ride to Harbor Village and board a boat that will take us to Santa Cruz Island — largest of the Channel Islands — about 25 miles off the mainland. After decades of dedicated restoration and conservation, the landscape of canyons, peaks, valleys, and 77 miles of coastline will give us an idea of what southern California was like centuries ago. Once we arrive, we will utilize our newly learned snorkeling skills with the expert supervision of a local island concessionaire with special permission from the National Park Service. We’ll be able to observe swaying kelp forests close to shore and be on the lookout for marine life and any island residents.

Lunch: At a scenic spot on the island, we’ll have bag lunches. There are few trash-cans on the island, but our lunches are packed so that all trash can fit in a pocket to carry away.

Afternoon: Our lead naturalist will take us on a nature hike on the trails, pointing out different flora and fauna along the way. The boat will return to the mainland at approximately 4:30-5:00 p.m. After returning to the hotel via motorcoach, we’ll have some time to freshen up and relax before dinner.

Dinner: At the hotel. Share favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends during our farewell dinner.

Evening: We’ll have a wrap-up session to discuss how our experiences relate to “Island of the Blue Dolphins.” Prepare for check-out and departure after our last activity in the morning.

DAY
6
Art Class, Program Concludes
Ventura, California
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out 11:00 a.m.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We’ll be joined by a local artist and commemorate the program with our own handmade creation. This concludes our program. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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If you want to attend the live lecture, please do not wait until the last minute to enroll.
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