On Our Way (Page One)
A day filled with fun and laughs
It's birthday time... Head for the ship!
The new and the old... We prefer the old!
The Queen is so pretty!
At sea... Some one yelled "Whales"... They were correct!
Arrival At Avalon
A most beautiful sight!
Welcome to civilization
The Casino welcomes us
The ship readies for its next destination... Long Beach
Time For Lunch
Joe's is gone..... A clothing store is underway!
The town was loaded with people
We selected the Blue Water Grille
... Because they had wine...
The Pleasure Pier was a stones throw away
The Adventure Begins
1:15... Time to start our tour
Santos Padilla... Expert guide.. Available for hire!
Paul rode shotgun... Well, backseat shotgun!
Did You Know? - The Catalina Island Conservancy (CIC) is a nonprofit organization established to protect and restore Santa Catalina Island, California. CIC was established in 1972 through the efforts of the Wrigley and Offield families.
The Conservancy was created when both families deeded 42,135 acres (170.51 km2) of the island over to the organization—nearly 90% of the Island.
Founded in 1972, the Conservancy is one of the oldest private land trusts in Southern California The stated goal of the Conservancy is to "be a responsible steward of our lands through a balance of conservation, education and recreation."
Up up and away... We are heading to 1500 feet altitude
The baby fox required us to stop
He was busy foraging
Did You Know? - The introduction of distemper, probably by a raccoon stowing away on one of the boats that come to the Island, nearly wiped out the Catalina Island fox. Their numbers dropped to about 100 in 1999. The Conservancy's biologists vaccinated the remaining fox population against distemper.
Time for a stop
Romance is in the air...
Sue and Santos
Wild Animals... And It Was NOT Us
Yes... That a real live bison
Did You Know? - Bison are large, even-toed ungulates in the genus Bison within the subfamily Bovinae.
Santos drove right up to the beast
Did You Know? - The Conservancy is also actively managing a herd of bison on the Island with a novel contraceptive program that is attracting the attention of wild animal managers on the mainland.
The bison were first brought to the Island in 1924 for a movie that was never made. Over the years, they became an iconic symbol of the Island's culture. But with no natural predators, the herd grew to as many as 500.
The Conservancy had previously conducted studies that found the Island could support only about 150 to 200 bison. To control the herd's size, the Conservancy had been periodically conducting roundups and shipping bison to the mainland.
Shipping the bison to the mainland was costly, and it raised concerns about the stress on the animals during shipment and the expansion of the herd beyond ecologically sustainable numbers between shipments.
Beginning in 2009, the Conservancy's scientists injected the female bison with porcine zona pellucida (PZP), a contraceptive that had been used for fertility control in zoos, wild horses and white tail deer.
In addition to substantially reducing the number of new calves, the PZP had no apparent effect on pregnant females or their offspring. A peer-reviewed study published in 2013 reported that the contraceptive program was effective in controlling the herd.
Previously, more than two-thirds of the cows delivered calves every year. After receiving the contraceptive, the calving rate dropped to 10.4% in the first year and 3.3% the following year.
We stood there and let us take pictures
Did You Know? - The American bison and the European wisent are the largest terrestrial animals in North America and Europe. Bison are good swimmers and can cross rivers over half a mile (1 km) wide.
Bison are nomadic grazers and travel in herds. The bulls leave the herds of females at two or three years of age, and join a male herd which is generally smaller than the female herds.
Mature bulls rarely travel alone. Towards the end of the summer, for the reproductive season, the sexes necessarily commingle.
American bison are known for living in the Great Plains. Both species were hunted close to extinction during the 19th and 20th centuries, but have since rebounded. The American plains bison is no longer listed as endangered, but the wood bison is on the endangered species list in Canada.
Up close and personal
Did You Know? - The bison's temperament is often unpredictable. They usually appear peaceful, unconcerned, even lazy, yet they may attack anything, often without warning or apparent reason. They can move at speeds of up to 35 mph (56 km/h) and cover long distances at a lumbering gallop.
Oops! He turned around on us.
Did You Know? - Their most obvious weapons are the horns borne by both males and females, but their massive heads can be used as battering rams, effectively using the momentum produced by 2,000 pounds (900 kg) moving at 30 mph (50 km/h).
The hind legs can also be used to kill or maim with devastating effect. At the time bison ran wild, they were rated second only to the Alaska brown bear as a potential killer, more dangerous than the grizzly bear. In the words of early naturalists, they were a dangerous, savage animal that feared no other animal and in prime condition could best any foe (except for wolves and brown bears.
The island was dry!
Little bits of green popped up once in a while
Hope he likes cactus!
Did You Know? - The rutting, or mating, season lasts from June through September, with peak activity in July and August. At this time, the older bulls rejoin the herd, and fights often take place between bulls. The herd exhibits much restlessness during breeding season. The animals are belligerent, unpredictable and most dangerous.
Lots of work to save these guys
He was fussing
His friend dwas camera shy
"I am watching you! "
Did You Know? - The Institute for Wildlife Studies, a separate conservation organization, has worked to restore bald eagles to the island on Conservancy land since the late 1970s.
Bald eagles had been common on the island until the 1960s, when it is believed that the effects of dumping the pesticide DDT off the coast of Southern California made it impossible for eagles to successfully hatch their young.
The reintroduction of the bald eagle to the island may also edge out an invasive golden eagle population that threatens the native Island Fox.
Sue gets an up close peek!
Thirty pounds of bird!
He seemed to like his habitat
This was quite a mouth!
"OK... Let get going!"
We were warned
Just a bit dry... Every vehicle was a light brown
Middle Ranch Catalina
The horse equipment is kept in these small buildings
She was busy feeding the horses
The corral was part of Middle Ranch
Did You Know? - Back when Catalina Island's interior was a cattle ranch, this was the heart and soul of that ranch. The fields in front of the barns were used to grow hay for the livestock that lived on the island, and this is where the horses were kept to work the cattle. This area is now a working headquarters for The Catalina Island Conservancy. They have a native plant nursery, and that is where I was when I painted this painting.
The Conservancy Headquarters are spartan
Even in the dry spell Mother Nature puts on a show
How does she do it?
We saw many of these signs during our travels
This structure was made for a western movie in the 1950's
It fit in but was never maintained
Today it is locked up
We now are leaving Middle Ranch
Santos knows it well
Ben Westin Beach
The road was in good condition
The Ben Westin Beach was visible from the road
Secluded is a good description for this beach
Did You Know? - Ben Weston Beach is accessed primarily by boat because it is a 14 mile strenuous hike from the nearest town (Avalon) on Catalina Island.
Named for an army officer that was assigned here during WWII. In fact at the top prior to the hike down to the beach, there is an old WWII Gun Bunker where they watched for enemy craft off the coast.
From this spot to the bottom it takes about an hour and half hike down to Ben Weston beach where you will see a palm leaf hatch for shade and one of the only spots on the island for surfing.
At Ben Weston Beach there are some small dunes that support an excellent example of the dune flora of the island.
Little Harbor Campground
Not as secluded but quite beautiful
Did You Know? - Rated "One of the Best Campgrounds in the West" by Sunset Magazine, Little Harbor Campground is perfect for campers who enjoy playing on the beach or in the water. Located about seven miles east of Two Harbors and 16 miles from Avalon, Little Harbor is a sandy, beachfront campground with lots of opportunities for recreation. This beautiful campground is the only one on the remote "backside" of Catalina.
The water was calm and a beautiful blue
You can drive to the beach (using an island approved vehicle)
Most people today came via boat
Off To Two Harbors
About an hour to go to Two Harbors from Little Harbor and back... 20 mile trip
Flowers still manage to come out in this drought
Some of the buffalo were hanging around waiting for an unsuspecting visitor to eat
Santos was considerate of the animals and drove slowly
Looks like the Old West (except for the radio tower on the mountain)
There were about thirty head in this area
The fence protected the road
It was about 75 degrees out and the buffalo were lazy
They were sprinkled all over this little valley
Did You Know? - A herd of American Bison roam, 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
Two Harbors Here We Come
We visited the eastern side
The Isthmus is about 1/4 long
We had to pass through a cattle/buffalo guard to get into Two Harbors
A solar powered gate!
A perspective of the area show the Isthmus
The white island is privately owned
Looks like Avalon 100 years ago
The campgrounds were empty today
Not a lot of boats today... July 4th it was full!
We walked down "main street"
We found Room 100
A stroll to the beach took about 2 minutes
Sue sports her Happy Birthday tag
The restaurant/cafe was open and busy
The flowers were magnificent....
Think what they cold do with more water
Ah ha... We found the bar and that means wine
We split a chardonnay before going back to the taxi
Life is slow out here