Pictured on a chart of the coast of Southern California, the Channel Islands suggest deliberate formation rather than the geological phenomenon which sent ancient mountain tops piercing up through the blue sea. Like units of a powerful fleet, these islands seem deployed to protect a rich and populous coast line.
There are eight major units and a dozen or more tiny satellite islets in this fleet. Under favorable weather conditions, and from suitable points of vantage, every one of the main islands may be seen from the mainland. Navy personnel who have manned ships operating out of San Pedro and San Diego have sailed among them, as have yachtsmen and commercial fishermen. Merchant ships in coastwise lanes must pass them.
One island, Santa Catalina, is well known to the world, the Catalina Island of tourist and sport fishing fame. Most of the others are strangely isolated and perhaps the least known of any parcels of land within the 48 states of the American Union. This isolation is true even though the entire group is within a 100-mile radius from the fifth largest city in the United States.