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Regarding the Channel Islands, it depends on what kind of access you get. All the islands except Catalina have very limited access and only with licensed operators. The other islands are also very undeveloped. Check with your tour operator for things like the following:
1. How much time you have on the island? (Varies by island.)
2. In the time available, can you easily hike from the landing location to viewing locations at higher elevations? Is there other transportation available from the landing location?
3. Where is the landing location on the island? The islands are large. Check a map of the location and an ephemeris to see if you will be getting decent light angles on your relatively short visit there.
4. What is the likelihood of good, close, wildlife viewing where you will be going? Nesting seabirds? Bald Eagles? Island Foxes?
One day is not much on the undeveloped islands. As the others suggested, your photo time may be better spent on the mainland coast at the locations they have suggested. Also, check the Elephant Seal internet sites to see if those animals will be ashore to moult during this time of year. The beach near San Simeon/Cambria is very accessible on a boardwalk that allows you to get legally close to the animals without disturbing them.
Edited on Jun 18, 2013 at 06:37 PM · View previous versions