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Old 18-08-2011, 06:25   #1
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Location: Santa Catalina Island, Ca. USA
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A Week in Catalina

We crossed the San Pedro Channel from Sunset Harbor and headed to Two Harbors for a week of goofing off.



Nice and cool each morning on Catalinas West end, the wife and I and our 11 year old decided to hit the early coffee at the Reef snack bar, and venture a new direction trail each day:



Road across the Isthmus:


Walking over the Isthmus we past by the one room school house that is still in use today. The LA County School District had the bright idea to bus the kids 2 hours each way to Avalon. That crazy idea puke'd, so boating the school kids was tried and it was evident real quick it was a ridiculous plan as well. So the one room red schoolhouse lives on.

Our 11 year old was all over this, thought it was super cool and wondered how they pull it off teaching several different grades in one room.
The cafeteria is outside on the patio BTW.

As we continued our walk across the Isthmus towards Cat Harbor, we pass by the really cool looking Isthmus Yacht Club. Built During the Civil War, it only allows 25 members. You have to married to be a member goes the tale. If you loose your spouse,, you loose your membership. "The idea is to discourage skirt chasing" the retired LEOS moored around us mentioned to my wife.
Evidently membership includes a room at the club.


End of the trail, the view of the ocean. A few dedicated benches about, plaques on them dedicated to a character or two that gave Catalinas West End some of it's charm.

"The boating grandmothers run the wealthy families" our retired LEO boating friends back in the Harbor told us. "They keep the kids on a short leash with trust funds and call all the shots" Chris, the retired Sheriff added..

Perhaps one such grandmother sat on one of the benches overlooking the ocean.
She had a personality like an axe handle. We chatted for a spell while her grand children and our 11 year old collected sea shells on the beach quite some distance below.

We were all followed along the Cat Harbor shoreline by two HUGE bat rays, and Grandma Axehandle wanted to talk about it.
You could tell by her bearing, cut of clothes and cold steel eyes she maybe controls some big bank accounts.
"You're the family with the giant patio swim step boat with all the blue underwater lights. That looks marvelous!!" she mentioned. Our swim step (and back bedroom) gets more comments than anything.


Their are two different dive shacks in Two Harbors.
One for the visitors recreation, and one located back by the outboard motor shop for the service divers.

They do underwater repairs, un-wraps of lines caught in props, and they charge much less here for bottom cleaning than in the marinas.
On the walk back, I wanted to tip the divers that removed tangled ropes we picked up from our props.
(I tried it myself and sliced my hand deluxe BTW.)



They were off on another assignment, so I left money with the Reef bartender to buy them a few drinks instead.
We sat at the bar for a beer or two and a Dr friend of ours and his wife pulled up stools next to us after their long hike. They are trying to put their lives back together, have returned to boating after their adult kids backed their lives and their life savings into hell. But that's perhaps a story from them to post here one day. Quite a distressing story indeed.

Then a young couple walked up who had hiked in from Parsons Landing for a drink. The guy a special effects tech for a studio, a nerd but really cool personality,, his girlfriend a stunning 10 in looks and personality, a hairstylist from Santa Monica. The Reef is the only bar outside of Avalon.
She looked real familiar, and with conversation, and takes from my adult kids, and everyone else's take,, we figured out who she probably was. Read that; probably was

She had a television show back in the 90's when she was a kid actor. Her career got stereo typed in the part she played. After attempts to get more acting work failed, her plan is to lay low for a spell, perhaps be forgotten somewhat and shake the stereo typed character she created and maybe re-set her show biz career.

Was she ever hot looking. Even after hiking 8 miles and no makeup. Turn your head around shocking attractive, and dressed nasty.
The kids eventually gave them a dingy ride back to Parsons Landing. They were way to s#it-faced to hike it.

Later, we were running the dingy back to our boat and came across a couple who's dingy ran outta gas. No paddles and just drifting, the guy trying to act cool and paddle with his hands. Zero traction.

Looked like when the cartoon Coyote with TNT gets blown off a cliff and is flapping his arms trying to fly.
We threw them a rope and towed them to the camping beach. "Not as romantic I guess" I told them.
I wanted to take him to the gas dock,, but he needed 2 stroke oil for the fuel mix, and no way was he going to pay the WHOPPING $1 for the 3.4 oz bottle the gas dock sells.

Outstanding snorkeling just off their camping beach.
Water temp 72 deg F.
Camping beach:


Something I never paid much attention too are Nordic Tugs. Quite a following, and some really nice ones in the Harbor we passed in the dingy.
Nordic Tug:

Evidently a pride of ownership boat. The owners really keep them up.

I understand they get approx 12 MPG. I'm told that. Seems like a stretch,,, never looked furthur into it. I'd wager some tales get turned around in the re-telling from 12 MPH to 12 MPG but damfino, it's great if they do, I hope they do.
Some nice Nordic Tugs about the harbors.
I'd love to own one. Rumored to be very comfortable.

We left Two Harbors the next morning with the feeling, in spite of a few mishaps,, the best boating trip we ever took.

I kicked the boat in the ass just past the Coast Guard Buoy. It was so smooth we got up to 33 knots (indicated) pretty quick. A few 41 Knot blasts, but the swells were getting us airborne, so I eventually pushed my speed back to 33 Knots.

Wife was asleep in the back bedroom, our 11 year old asleep in the front the whole crossing.

Within minutes I spotted structures and lights of Long Beach. 33 is fast on the ocean for a big MoHo (motorhome) boat.

At the gas dock the attendant asked "where ya heading to?"
"Coming back" I replied.
"Wow, you have an economical boat" He added as he put the gas nozzle back on the holder.

Was a fantastic experience.
Yeah,, I can do this all the time.
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Old 18-08-2011, 10:49   #2
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Re: A Week in Catalina

Excellent report (and pictures) of a special area, Free Agent. Thanks. I'm a big fan of Nordic Tugs myself . . . very sweet boats, very economical. While most owners seem to have that "pride of ownership" you mentioned, some don't. When you see one that's in poor shape, it's really heartbreaking.

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Old 18-08-2011, 11:28   #3
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Re: A Week in Catalina

Thanks for the take. Nice forum.

I forgot to mention as we were approaching Two Harbors, we spotted a dingy adrift about 9 miles out.

We took it into the Harbor Masters dock and learned it had been reported stolen.
The thieves used it to get to their boat, then set it adrift,,, but left their wallets behind in the dingy.
Nice, high performance, high dollar new dingy with a 60 HP Honda.

Took the Sheriffs about 15 minutes to locate the thieves, and they spent the weekend in Jail.

The dingys owner was just glad to get it back,, and because one of the thieves was on leave from Afghanistan,, he didn't press charges.

It was reported as a stolen boat, a felony and the thieves would be in the LA County glass house jail awaiting arraignment.
I still dunno if I would have left them off the hook.

I'm a veteran,, I'd never ruin someones vacation by stealing their dingy.
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Old 12-10-2011, 13:45   #4
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Re: A Week in Catalina

Nice posts about your stay on Catalina! I went to a 2-room grade school in Oregon from third grade through the eighth. We had around 30 students in the whole shcool, with one classroom for grades 1-3, and the other for grades 4-8. I had the most excellent Miss McPike for five years. She was the typical spinster school marm. Tell your 11 yr old that each grade had their work for the day posted on the chalk board, and we worked independently often, with the teacher keeping a sharp eye on us while she was engaged in discussion with another grade. Because the grades were small (my class was three people!), we got a lot of personal attention as needed. I consider the education that I received there to be top-notch!
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Old 12-10-2011, 22:53   #5
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Loved that story. It brought back some great memories. I just about grew up at 2 Harbors...as a kid, we use to go over there for a couple of weeks every year on our Newport 28....went back twice as a young adult on a Grand Banks 42 bareboat charter. What fantastic memories! Thanks for sharing!
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Old 28-11-2011, 13:35   #6
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Re: A Week in Catalina

Thanks for the kind takes and tales.

We sold our Wake board boat a year ago this week (in a hailstorm BTW,, and for full asking price) and decided to buy a new 33' Cruiser at the boat show and head back to the sea.
We ordered it with every option but the snowplow. And I mean every option.

Glad we did.

It's been an amazing summer, the boat flawless.

Next trip Smugglers Cove, Santa Cruz Island, probably mid-June.
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Old 28-11-2011, 14:26   #7
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Only been to Santa Cruz once. Loved it, although the water was quite a bit cooler. Santa Barbra Island and San Clamente Islands are my favorites.
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Old 28-11-2011, 14:44   #8
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Re: A Week in Catalina

Quote:
Originally Posted by FloatyThing View Post
Only been to Santa Cruz once. Loved it, although the water was quite a bit cooler. Santa Barbra Island and San Clamente Islands are my favorites.
The newer, super-stretchy 2 mm thin wet suits are a hit with the family.
Avalon the water is much warmer BTW.
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Old 28-11-2011, 14:47   #9
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Re: A Week in Catalina

That's a fun read.
Thanks for that.
kind regards,
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Old 28-11-2011, 15:26   #10
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Re: A Week in Catalina

Thanks for the Catalina fix. It's good for a junkie like me stuck up in the PNW with a non-functioning boat.
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