This morning is our first day of exploring the Channel Islands, and the early risers found fresh coffee and warm blueberry muffins to enjoy as we waited the sun to burn through the early morning fog that covered Santa Rosa Island. By the time breakfast was ready, a good portion of the island was visible, and National Geographic Venture dropped anchor just a few hundred yards from the pier in Bechers Bay.

Twenty guests were joined by three naturalists for an all-day hike to visit the one of earth’s rarest trees - the Torrey pines, found only on Santa Rosa Island and another small grove near the city of San Diego. For those not up to the eight-mile round trip, shorter hikes into Cherry Canyon were also offered both before and after lunch and a few guests chose to enjoy a Zodiac cruise along the shoreline.