Catalina Island continued…

The rest of our time in Catalina was like something out of a dream.  We sailed from the quiet solitude of Small Harbor Anchorage to a mooring ball in the raucous town of Avalon on the southeast side of the island.  Our first glimpse of Avalon was obscured by the towering Princess cruise ship parked just offshore.  The large ship dwarfed Avalon harbor and intimidated those of us who hadn’t seen more than a handful of boats in the better part of a week.  Except for the hundreds of tourists milling about, the town itself was fairly quiet.  By weeks end it was a different story, Avalon had metamorphosed into something that I have a very difficult time describing, but think MTV Spring Break meets Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous and you’ll be on the right track.  From our vantage point near the coastline with the other “small” boats we were mesmerized by a sea of drool worthy yachts with more than a sprinkling of enormous mega yachts complete with working deck hands and dinghies so large they made Resolute envious.  Up until that weekend we had never so much enjoyed just folding ourselves into the cockpit and watching the cinema that unfolded around us.  To starboard there was a 30 foot power boat with so many partying 20 somethings that it looked like it might capsize, off our stern quarter there were surfers attempting to backflip off the back of a sailboat and land upright on their surfboards tied off a few feet away (they didn’t come close but it would have been pretty impressive if they had), and to port there was an intoxicated young woman floating by in what looked to be a human sized hamster wheel.  The astonishingly elaborate, impromptu St. Patrick’s Day dinghy parade rounded out the weekend nicely.

While we weren’t people watching from Resolute we were enjoying Catalina’s wildlife both above and below the waterline.  Although Erik and I may not have enjoyed our encounter with an adolescent rattlesnake on a hiking trail after dark, we did enjoy the jolt of adrenaline that accompanied the encounter sending us scurrying down the trail, and shaving at least 20 minutes off the hike.  Below the waterline the fish were plentiful.  It was our first  time diving since getting certified over a year ago and to call us a little rusty would be a mariner’s understatement.  But after we finally got all of our equipment together and pulled on our full length wetsuits in the 90 degree weather, we waddled over to the waters edge and jumped (or awkwardly fell depending who you ask) into the sea.  To live like a fish for even one hour was worth any effort and we look forward to many more dives, in hopefully warmer water as we move south.

Bird of Paradise

Bird of Paradise flowers lining the streets of Avalon


St. Patrick's day parade

Surprise St. Patrick’s day parade put on by fellow boaters


Mooring balls

Nearly all full over the weekend


Avalon, Catalina island

Avalon’s casino and mooring field


Dinghy Dock

Dinghy dock full and not even the weekend yet


Kennecott Mine, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, Alaska

The historic Kennecott mine, near the confluence of the Root and Kennecott Glaciers, is a marvel of engineering. Not only did the mine require the laying of 196 miles of railway, some 15% of that on trestles, but it looks like a carpenter’s version of Jenga. In operation from 1911 to 1938, the company mined copper, occasionally mining Chalcocite, a mineral comprising of nearly 70% copper and weighing significantly more than an average stone of equal size. Meagan and I took advantage of the park’s policy of allowing rock collection Winking smile.


kennecott mine alaska

Photo by Meagan DeRaps