From dust to tribe . . .

Dust and Tribe (D&T) is the experience of growth through adventure.

Our fall and spring signature excursions are annual opportunities for Muslim men and women to push through the boundaries of supposed mental and physical limits into a new awareness of what we can be when we support one another.

It is where we discover what we are (dust) and what we become together (tribe).

Spring 2016: D&T Grrrl!

On April 22nd, fifteen women left for three days and two nights camped out on an island two-hours off the California coast. This blog is their story!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

The Island and Getting There

The Channel Islands are a chain of eight islands right here off the coast of California. We all know about Catalina. It's the only one that's really inhabited with a little city (Avalon) and everything.

Five of the islands make up the Channel Islands National Park. That's where your headed, insha Allah.

There are a couple of other little islands floating out there as part of the same archipelago. One of them is San Nicolas. It's the most remote of the islands. It's also where the last remaining Tongva woman was found. She had been living alone for 18 years.


She was found in her dress of green cormorant feathers, living in a hut she'd made of whale bones. And her story became the basis for The Island of the Blue Dolphins. Eighteen years she lived on that island totally by herself. They found bits of drying seal blubber before they found her. Everything she needed was there and she knew what to do because her people had taught her. The Tongva and the Chumash had been on the islands for some 13,000 years.

She was brought to the mainland. She died within seven weeks.

We need to spend a lot of time thinking about that.

There are things in the Channel Islands that can't be found anywhere else in the world. Cut off from the mainland, things grow and develop in ways that are wonderful and mysterious. Dwarfism is an island phenomenon where you end up with smaller versions of things that might be found elsewhere. An example from antiquity is this pygmy mammoth that was discovered on Santa Rosa Island back in '94:


That thing was bumbling around with our ancestors, and mammoth remains have been found adjacent to ancient fire-pits. Some serious barbecue back in the day. Anyway, I'll see what I can do about putting together a list of plants and animals that can only be found in the Channel Islands. Once there, you can get busy tracking these things down, insha Allah.

Crossing the Santa Barbara Channel will be it's own adventure:


If you're prone to sea/motion sickness, you might think about bringing along some Bonine. It works pretty well for a lot of people. Some people swear by ginger candy and Sea Bands.

Do whatever it takes to get comfortable, though. There might be a show that you don't want to miss. In my two crossings we saw huge pods of dolphins and even a mother whale with her newborn calf. You don't want to be hurling in the head when all that is going on.

The crossing is one thing. Landing is another. And that just got a little bit harder. There were major storms this past December that punished the islands with massive surges. The main pier at Scorpion Bay, where you'll be arriving, was wiped out.

That means you can all look forward to a skiff landing.


You'll get wet. For sure. Just before your one-mile hike to your campground.

Welcome to your weekend!

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