We got up early and set sail from Alamitos Bay to Avalon Bay on Santa Catalina Island. It was about 25 nautical miles and was an absolutely beautiful day to be on the water. We managed to get some and sail part of the trip as well- how about that!?
We were greeted by the harbour patrol officer in his red boat asking how long we’d like to stay and how big our boat was. He was a master of taking our info into his computer while simultaneously maneuvering his boat to ensure no collisions occurred. Then he took our credit card and the fun began!
The City of Avalon has a promotion that starts Oct 15th- the day we arrived. You pay for 2 nights (for us, a 40 foot boat, it was $50/night) and you get FIVE free. Sweet deal. We were all set for a week on a mooring at Avalon and proceeded down the extremely tight channel with boats everywhere and a submarine (tourist tours) behind us as we made our way to the mooring ball. These moorings are a little tricky compared to those found in most places in the world. They require a line to your bow cleat and a line to your stern cleat to hold you in place, since they pack you in like sardines. You grab the tall wand that sticks up really tall out of the water and keep pulling the line it is attached to until you reach the loop in the bow line. This loop goes over your cleat (we recommend taking the thin line attached to the wand and cleat hitching it overtop of the bow line, then laying the wand on your bow/deck.) This then leads you to a ‘sand line’ or ‘howser’ that leads you to the stern line. You’ll want to wear gloves as the mucky slime that covers this line will inevitably end up on you and your boat too. Lots of people will be sipping their martinis and watching you as well… Follow the howser line until you eventually reach the loop of the thicker stern line. Place this loop over your stern cleat and then you might want to take a bit of the thinner howser line and cleat hitch it over the loop to lock it onto your cleat. Now you are done. Your turn to sip martinis.
Avalon was unlike anything we’ve ever experienced. It is absolutely beautiful and looks like someone took a little piece of Europe and plopped it 26 miles from L.A. Huge houses built up onto the hills, each with private pools. A picturesque casino built in the 1920’s in classic ‘art deco’ style. Clear, turquoise waters that are warm and inviting. The town was gorgeous, with colourful tiles everywhere and quaint, characteristic houses. It actually felt like a movie set. Especially since everyone drives around in golf carts (they rent them there) and there were several places with fake grass. There is a little Von’s grocery store with essentials (although not cheap) and lots of neat shops to check out as well.
We had a lot of fun snorkeling right off our boat, but also dinghied in one day and walked over to Casino Point in our shorties to snorkel in their dedicated dive park there. It was fantastic! Tons and tons of fish that are used to people being near them, so they come right close to you and vibrant Garibaldi fish as well- the state fish of California.
Our friends on sv Dakota were there at the same time, so we enjoyed seeing them also and the kids had fun playing together! Overall, a fantastic place to go. Definitely one of our favourites, Avalon was a real gem and a highlight for the whole Bloom Crew. Now to set sail for San Diego….