Right after I looked at the Eagles Nest sailboat and put in an offer, Brent and I went to Catalina Island for his birthday. This was our second time there. We both love this place!
You need to take either a ferry or helicopter to get there. If you leave the mainland on your birthday, the ferry ride is free! They give you a blue birthday ribbon and a print out of special deals you can get on your birthday. Last year we went on my birthday. I thought it was hilarious because everyone wishes you a happy birthday as soon as they see the little ribbon.
We stopped at Dennys before boarding the ferry…Brent has this odd obsession with Dennys; which is also free on your birthday. Then we were off to Dana Landing to get on the boat. Next year I hope to sail to Catalina, but one thing at a time. We took the 9:45am boat, and despite getting there super early got on board about 10 minutes before it left the dock. If you go, keep in mind that you have to wait in line to get your tickets and pay for your parking…you then go to the parking lady to get your display ticket…then drive to long term parking…then take a shuttle back. That whole process could potentially take an hour, and the boat will not wait!
The boat ride is about an hour and twenty minutes. You can sit upstiars, in the boat, or sit on either side of the bow area, but not all the way up front. The island slowly becomes visible, and then the tiny port town of Avalon. It’s bright and colorful, the homes and businesses are built neatly into the cliffs which surround the harbor. Boats on moorings line the water almost up to shore, which is full of sunbathers and swimmers.
After we disembarked it was time for an early lunch. We had all of our luggage so we didn’t wander too far! Since Catalina is rather expensive, we always choose to camp. We take a taxi a mile to the campground, and then for the remainder of our trip we take the Garibaldi…an electric bus which replaced the old trolley. The bus costs a dollar each way, and sometimes it has “free days”. Before arriving at the campground we stopped at the Von’s (grocery store) to get a few supplies. Ok, to get beer. This is where you see all of the golf carts belonging to the locals…it’s very difficult to have a car, so everyone has golf carts. The city only allows a certain amount of autos, and it’s extremely expensive to have one even if you get permission.
We set up our little camp and were ready to go! The site is called Hermit Gulch, and as they tell you…there are critters! Deer, hungry birds and foxes.
Our favorite part is the snorkeling, and this time was better than the last! We dove at the casino last year. This year, the bus driver and bus riders told us about “Lovers Cove”. Holy moly! There were so many fish!! And the water wasn’t as cold. As we walked our short 5 minute walk from the dock drop off we saw a huge amount of people in the water. The second we got to the steps to the water an older gentleman blew a whistle and started to get everyone out of the water. Turns out is was a class. We got there just at the right time. We swam around with my little fake GoPro…my FauxPro. Then, a lady in the water holding a gatorade bottle full of peas asked if I wanted some… Oh my good golly!! FISH LOVE PEAS!!! They went nuts to get these things. So the next two days we went to the cove we brought our own peas. It’s crazy! The fish will bounce off of your, bite your bathing suit…then they follow you for a little while hoping you have more. We were laughing like little kids…we had so much fun!
Our other favorite thing to do is “app-hop”, and not in the millennial sense. Since we travel on a budget we don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on dinner. So we just grab a beer and a snack at all the different restaurants and bars. We get to see more that way, and try not to spend as much. We finally made it in to Luaa Larry’s!! It was packed, and we were only there at lunch time!!
Back at the campsite we made dinner…and had some unexpected guests….
This year we also made it south of the main part of town to a restaurant called “Buffalo Nickel”. We walked over after one of our snorkeling adventures. It was great, hardly any tourists (except us, haha), and we got to watch the helicopter take off and land. The restaurant serves bison/buffalo…and buckets of beer!
As with most vacations…ours ended with a morning Tecate. Can’t wait to go back!