The Scouting Party Goes To Catalina On March 24th (Two Months Early)
Well, it is our anniversary and we celebrate by working in Catalina. Maybe working is a strong word! We mix work and fun! Our anniversary is perfectly timed, seven weeks ahead of the Avalon Ball, so we can finalize the arrangements (the rooms were secured a year ago but we make the room assignments, we notify the restaurants and arrange for separate checks and locations, etc!).
It was cool but not cold... Make walking quite pleasant!
We Are Off!
Did You Know? - "All ashore that's going ashore" is a naval expression and means the ship is about to sail; therefore any persons not intending to sail with the ship should disembark immediately.
We are ready to sail the bounding main!
On our way...
Did You Know? - The Hamilton Beach Airport (now called Hamilton Cove) was built as an amphibian seaplane airport and opened in 1931. The airline, Wilmington-Catalina Airline, LTD, flew 10-passenger Douglas Dolphins two engine amphibian seaplanes. The fare from Wilmington to Catalina in those days was $5.
A small Spanish-style terminal building welcomed residents, business people & tourists to Catalina. The terminal can be seen in scenes from the 1935 movie “Murder On A Honeymoon” which was filmed on the island.
Following a water landing off shore from the narrow cove, the plane would taxi up a concrete ramp to a large turntable set into the ground. The turntable was similar to those used in railroad round houses.
After the arriving passengers disembarked, the turntable would be reversed by hand until the plane was facing the opposite direction. Departing passengers would board and the plane would head back down the ramp into the sea. The turntable was designed by Philip K. Wrigley. The boat-like hulled seaplanes were designed by Donald Douglas, Sr., a close friend of Philip Wrigley.
Tourists and residents were served at the airport until September 1942, at which time the Coast Guard took over, after the United States entry into World War II.
We were treated to a magnificent show
The sea bubbled and gurgled and all of a sudden... Dolphin time!
The encircled the boat... coming at us from all sides
Did You Know? - Common dolphins live in both warm-temperate and tropical waters ranging from 40–60°N to 50°S. Long-beaked common dolphins mostly inhabit shallow, warm coastal water. Short-beaked common dolphins are common "along shelf edges and in areas with sharp bottom relief such as seamounts and escarpments".
Common dolphin have a varied diet consisting of many species of fish and squid. This includes both mesopelagic species and epipelagic schooling species. They have been recorded to make dives up to 200 metres (660 ft) deep.
Common dolphins can live in aggregations of hundreds or even thousands of dolphins.
There were hundreds all around the boat!
The dolphins can really move
Did You Know? - They are fast swimmers (up to 60 km/h), and breaching behavior and aerial acrobatics are common with this species.
They would come within 2-3 feet of our ship!
Four in a row underwater and they would breach at the same time
There were dolphins several hundred feet from the boat
Zipping right along
Glad we had a telephoto lens... Listen carefully!
As we speeded up, so did they!
They did NOT see the speed limit sign
Hurry... The boat is about to leave!
Here we go... Here they come!
See you later!
Look carefully, there are hundred's of them!
Easy to see from the inside of the ship!
It happens to all of us!
The mountains are so green!
We will be seeing you up close very soon... The Avalon Ball
Our trusty steed gets ready for another journey to the mainland!
We have seen the other side of this sign for fifteen years!
Didn't realize the other side was different and the sign contains a time capsule
Did You Know? - A time capsule is a historic cache of goods or information, usually intended as a method of communication with future people and to help future archaeologists , anthropologists , or historians .Time capsules are sometimes created and buried during celebrations such as a world's fair , a cornerstone laying for a building or at other events.
Did You Know? - Quick Description: This beautiful tiled welcome sign greets visitors as the disembark at the ferry terminal on Catalina Island, in Avalon, the only incorporated town on the Island. A 100-year time capsule was placed here on Oct. 13, 1987.
Corn on the cob... Excellent!
The poppers were OK but needed so be fried longer to get crusty!
The Scouting Party Goes To Catalina (Page Two)
We now finalize the arrangements at the Villa Portofino Hotel and the Bluewater Grill. We took care of the golf course on the way back!
We walked down the promenade to the hotel and the Blue Water Grill
The grille was pretty busy as it was a beautiful day!
Sue waited while Paul conducted business
"I am freezing!"
An oxymoron if we every saw one!
We find the taxi!
10.1 miles as the crow walks!
We are on our way!
The stagecoach road was a bit narrow at times
Here come da bus.... Breath in!
We stopped for a photos shoot - The tower is called the "Black Jack Black Jack Radio Facility 33-23-13.1 N, 118-24-03.3 W "
Did You Know? - "Shadow areas" on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, on Santa Catalina Island and in Malibu, where radio signals sometimes cannot reach county emergency vehicles, will be served next year by a communications complex high on a Catalina mountaintop.
The county-funded complex on Blackjack Mountain will use a microwave relay system to bounce radio signals to Catalina, then back into hard-to-reach canyon and coastal areas on the mainland.
"If a vehicle is traveling in one of these shadow areas, they cannot get good communication from command posts who are trying to reach them," said Farid Khalil, deputy director of engineering for the county Facilities Management Department.
Mount Orizaba is the highest peak on Santa Catalina Island, California, United States. The summit is at 2,097 feet. On January 10, 1949, 8 inches of snow fell on the mountain.
Someone is going home
A better view of the Black Jack Radio Tower
Last summer this was dry as a bone!
This is a small park with children's playground equipment
Right off the road... Paul was brave and got out of the car!
They are used to civilization!
He was watching us carefully
Did You Know? - The non-native but charismatic Catalina Island bison herd has existed for nearly a century.
This herd of American Bison roam and were supposedly first imported to California's Catalina Island in 1924 for the silent film version of Zane Grey's Western tale, The Vanishing American. However, the 1925 version of "The Vanishing American" does not contain any bison whatsoever and shows no terrain that even remotely resembles Catalina, according to Jim Watson, columnist for the Catalina Islander newspaper.
Over the decades, the bison herd grew to as many as 600 individuals. The population currently numbers approximately 150. Biologists found that the American Bison of Santa Catalina Island are not pure bred; 45 percent have a domesticated cow as an ancestor.
The leader of the pack!
One of the three herds on the island today
Enjoying all the new green grass!
Did You Know? - Controlling the bison population, however, remains important for Catalina's overall ecological health. In the past, bison were routinely removed and sent to the mainland to auction. In 2004, the Conservancy partnered with the Morongo Band of Mission Indians, the Tongva (thought to be Catalina's original inhabitants some 7,000 years ago), and the Lakota tribe on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota. A hundred bison were relocated "home" to the Great Plains. Recently however, another solution was implemented. The Conservancy initiated a scientific study that determined that a herd of between 150 and 200 would be good for the bison, and ecologically sound for the island. Beginning in 2009, the herd was given animal birth control to maintain the population at around 150 animals.
Catalina's Airport in the Sky
Did You Know? - Catalina Island's only airport is privately owned and located 10 miles from Avalon, a 30 minute drive and 13 miles from Two Harbors, a 45 minute drive. The airport is open the public and is primarily used for general aviation. Freight aircraft arriving from the mainland also use the Airport in the Sky. There are no scheduled passenger flights to and from Catalina Island. The airport sits 1,600 feet above sea level, one of the highest points on Catalina Island.
The Airport in the Sky is home to DC-3 Grill and Gifts, a restaurant and gift shop featuring Buffalo burgers, sandwiches and world famous cookies. The Skyline Drive Tour stops at the Airport in the Sky for 30 minutes. Plenty of time to shop, have lunch or visit the Nature Center. You can also get to the Airport on the Safari Bus or by hiking or biking up.
The Airport in the Sky was commissioned by the Wrigley Family. The airport officially opened in 1946. Two mountain tops were leveled and the remaining canyon filled in to create the 3,200 foot runway. Construction of the runway began in 1940 and was nearly complete when Pearl Harbor was bombed in 1941. Because of World War II, construction was halted and the airfield, along with the rest of Catalina Island, was leased to the United States Government for $1 per year. The runway was covered with debris so that enemy aircraft would not be able to use it as a base. After the island was returned to the Wrigley Family and the Santa Catalina Island Company, paving of the runway and completion of the tower and terminal building commenced.
Getting the layout of the land
We had a glass of wine at the restaurant
While sitting on the patio, we made a new friend!
Did You Know? - The Catalina Island fox is found on Catalina Island and nowhere else in the world. An adult fox weighs just 4 to 6 pounds and is about 25% smaller than its mainland ancestor, the gray fox. Its diet includes mice, lizards, birds, berries, insects, and cactus fruit. It is Catalina's largest terrestrial predator.
In late 1999, an outbreak of distemper virus caused the fox population to plummet from about 1,300 to just 100 animals. In 2000, the Catalina Island Conservancy and its partner, the Institute for Wildlife Studies, implemented the Catalina Island Fox Recovery Plan. The plan combined relocation, vaccinations, captive breeding and release, and wild fox population monitoring.
He was right below the patio!
His playground went on for miles!
He walked down the patio wall looking for a handout!
The garbage smells "Lip Smacking Good"
He could not figure it out!
"Good by cheap humans... I could have used a hamburger!"
A magnificent day at the airport
Even the cactus are green after this winter season!
Back to Mr. Toad's Wild Ride!
We stopped by the golf course to make reservations of our May adventure
Panoramic view of Avalon Harbor showing the steamer S.S. Hermosa docked in front of the Hotel Metropole. There are appear to be more tents than permanent buildings being used as dwellings.
We had our wine... Time to set sail for home