Friday, July 4, 2014

Wild, remote Catalina Island

Catalina mountain trail with Two Harbors in the distance

           For the first time since returning Espiritu to SoCal from Florida, 
            Chris and I finally threw off the dock lines and sailed her from
    San Pedro to Catalina Island.

                                      Before we left the dock, we gave her a good scrubbing

                                      And before we knew it, we were back on the open water!
                                                      (Palos Verdes is in the background)

                                       You know this is where he wants to be, in spite of the
                                     countless hours of work it took to get Espiritu back home

                           After a 4 hour sail, the island loomed in the distance. She looks a little
                         foreboding here, like the Island of Dr. Moreau. But she's a gentle place.

                                             We dropped anchor just outside Two Harbors
                                                          and took the dinghy ashore

                                                         The Two Harbors dinghy dock

                        We passed this boat on the dinghy ride in. This guy's either an attorney...
                                                     or divorced...or probably both.

                We took advantage of the great weather (you never know when June Gloom
                      will hit out here!) and headed out on a long hike into the back country

                            Most Catalina visitors never leave Avalon, the "big city" on the island.
                            As the map shows, we anchored at "Two Harbors" then hiked over to
                               the Isthmus to the far side of the island, home of "Cat Harbor."

                                                        Sleepy but beautiful Cat Harbor

                                  We headed up the hillside trail aiming for the view from the top

                   We couldn't believe our luck when we tripped upon a herd of eight deer!

                                               We stopped, kept our distance, and watched
                                                         in awe as they passed ahead of us

                              We've seen one, two or three deer before, but never a full herd.
                          You never know what you'll see in the wild, and thanks to the Catalina
                                     Conservancy, 95% of Catalina's land remains pristine.
                              What a privilege to observe these beauties in their natural habitat.

                              As we climbed higher, the views of Cat Harbor improved

                                                                       View from the top

                                                                        Cactus and old fence

                                            We got to peek over the edge at the little seen
                                                        or explored far side of the island

                                                          Giant cacti grove

                                                                The road less traveled

                 Back in Two Harbors, we rewarded ourselves for our hard work with a
                  nice, greasy snack bar lunch and caught a World Cup game at the bar.

                            The next day we spent a leisurely afternoon on the cute little beach,
                     and then just relaxed aboard Espiritu, swimming, playing cards and music.

                     We're so fortunate to have this island paradise so close by, a mere 26 miles across the sea from Los Angeles. We're so grateful conservationists have kept her wild and pristine.

                         And that's just ABOVE the surface. Diving the Catalina kelp forests
                           is a spectacular experience.  Catalina Island really does have it all.

                                                                        How lucky are we?

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