25 April 2016: Fraser Point

Author: Danielle Mingo

CA: Santa Barbara Co: N Chi: Santa Cruz Island: Fraser Point

Waking up to our first morning at Christy Ranch was filled with tired faces and stories of a sleepless night. The wind has not let up since we’ve arrived. Our tents thrashed like sails in storm all through the night. Today we headed north up the west coast about 5 miles to spend the day at Fraser Point. Liz and Edeli started us off with presentations about the Argentine ant and the SCI grasslands.

45 mph winds? YES

Then we bundled up in jackets, layers, beanies and sleeping bags to board our caravan of safari trucks. The road to Fraser Point is long and windy. We made a few stops along the way. The first stop we got out of the trucks to study a slope of perennial bunch grass and calochortus. The wind raged on and the allergies made their attack.

The Allergies may have won this time…

We continued on to our next stop at a forest of magically strange truffula trees! The once Coreopsis is now Leptosyne gigantea. We marveled and carried on. We arrived on the flat, open plains of Fraser Point around noon. The wind gusted so hard you could lean into it and be held. We found refuge on a beach to eat lunch. The beach faced south, looking back at Christy Ranch across the white-capped waters. After lunch and Sam’s presentation on rocky intertidal zone ecology, the group was given the next several hours to discover various areas of Fraser Point. The points of exploration included: the rocky shoreline, sea birding, walking out to the end of the point to greet nearly 50mph winds, burying one’s face in endemic dudleya and visiting the remains of a Chumash village. The powerful winds today demonstrated to us Mother Nature’s force and the determination of life that seeks to strive among the elements.