Still on Catalina Harbor

Follows the (final) update from our two stays in Catalian Harbor.

True, I had promised it.

But I guess the fact is that this place is still quite present on my mind.

We really enjoyed Catalina Island. It’s probably fair to say it’s been the highlight of our journey thus far (even though the competition is tough, for we’ve been to some formidable places).

Catalina Island, showing both Cat Harbor and Avalon. The former was much closer for us when we arrived from Santa Cruz, as we came from the NW (top left corner of the picture)
Catalina Island, showing both Cat Harbor and Avalon. The former was much closer for us when we arrived from Santa Cruz, as we came from the NW (top left corner of the picture)

Avalon was lovely, we picked the right weather window to visit there, and the fact that Roberta and Luisa were with us gave our stay there a special meaning. In many ways, it exceeded what I was expecting.

But the real surprise came from Catalina (or simply “Cat”) Harbor. We stopped there for the first time in December, and it was purely by chance. We were tired and battered from a tough overnight passage, and Cat Harbor happened to be some 3 hours closer than Avalon. Moreover, the weather forecast was suggesting unfavorable winds and seas into Avalon for the coming days (which sadly materialized to proportions we couldn’t imagine).

Anyway, fact is, we made a last-minute decision to go to that harbor, and ended up finding a place I was not expecting to see here.

We stayed for more than a week there, including New Year’s, and then came back again with Roberta and Luisa after visiting Avalon.

So, what is it that attracted me so much to this place? Hmmm, I could go on and on, the same way I’ve done up to now on this post, but I would need more than a thousand words for it (and I am already at 275 up to here!). Instead, let me use some images … I hope they do the trick!

To start with, the rock formations at the entrance of the bay are just so beautiful … from the distance:


and from close by:


Then, the crystalline waters on our first visit were a special treat:


The fact we had Seals swimming under us just added to the magic:


And while we are on the subject, this was the only place we saw Seals lying leisurely on the sea surface, airing their flippers to the warm sun – and this gave us a feeling of peace and joy:


The surprisingly tiny and “raw” village at the isthmus between the two harbors added charm to the place (especially when contrasted to the smog and lights of Greater Los Angeles seen on the background, just 25 miles away):


And the views from the isthmus were a delight to the eye:


The picture above hasn’t been treated – I believe there must be a certain combination between the elevation of that hill and the degree of incidence of the sun lights, but the fact is that every afternoon the pastures would glow with these impossibly intense hues of green.


And when the lights were dimming, and we were on our way back to the dinghy, we would feast on spectacular views of the bay’s entrance against the fading sunset:


There was also a certain component of suspense and savagery, as some nights the Northeast wind would blow with gusto – in a couple of instances reaching the upper 30’s:

Pesto-03Feb15-057 (1)

Up the surrounding hills, the arid terrain added to the “raw-ness” of the place:



… and rewarded us with gorgeous vistas from up above:


But there are more elements colluding to make this place special, magical … perhaps it’s the fancy boats that seem to come here more than to other places:



… maybe it’s the the Bison-watching:


… or the geysers formed by the long swell compressing against the small caves on the rockery around the harbor:


… or possibly the fact that they secretly built a road to the Moon there:


The fact is, independently of the perspective we looked at it …


… we loved Cat Harbor, and we will take the sweetest memories of it.