Finally, a Catalina Island Adventure!


After the last debacle with the steering, we were REALLY ready to untie the lines a do some sailing! It had been 11 months since we were able to take the boat out, so this had been a long time coming. The plan was to take about nine days, sail out and stay on the backside at Cat Harbor, and maybe sail over to Little Harbor for a few days. First Mate wanted to get some snorkeling and fishing in, so Little Harbor would be a good place for that.

We sailed out on July 3rd with the expectation that there would be a lot of people there for the 4th of July. Although no fireworks were planned at Two Harbors, it was a holiday weekend, so there would be no surprise to find a packed anchorage. The sail there was a typical light-wind sail and we had to motor with the main up to steady us. There was one instance in the shipping lanes that was almost a concern. A cargo ship was on a collision course with our boat, as well as a few other sailboats that were nearby. The captain was courteous enough to cut his engines so that we could all pass. I radioed him to let him know that I was prepared to go astern of him, but he did not respond. The other sailboats were steaming full ahead, so it was probably best that he stop and let them pass. We powered up and went across his bow. It doesn’t appear that we were that close, but when you consider that these ships steam at around 12-17 knots, they can be upon you very quickly. At any rate, we made it past and all was well.

One of my favorite parts of a sail to the island is when we round the tip. The west tip points towards where the waves come in from the Pacific, so it is always nice to see the waves crashing on the rocks and shore there. Although there were no big waves crashing this day, it was still beautiful all the same. There is a small lighthouse (more a light stick) at that end and you can see as you come around.

As you sail down the western side of the island, about half way to Cat Harbor you are graced with one of my favorite rock formations. In the image you can clearly see the lines of flow from past millennia of seismic action.

Moon rising over the hill

Sailing into Cat Harbor is always a treat. You go from surfing the waves down the backside, to almost total calm. The wind is always blowing during the day, but the waves quickly settle down as you sail in, so there is plenty of time to drop sail and get ready to anchor. There were quite a few boats anchored so we had to take care where to drop, but we found a spot and nestled in quietly between a few boats and readied ourselves for a nice evening watch the stars come out. It doesn’t get much better than this.

After a great sail there and a great evening, we were set for eight more days of the island! Next post will be about what we did at the island and who we met out there.

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About Captain

Over 10 years sailing and over 3500 miles under our keel. Was an engineer (EE) for over 30 years, then after moving into management, decided that the corporate world was no longer for me. Ran my wife's law office for 15 years and recently retired. Now we live aboard and sail the California coast, soon to leave for the Sea of Cortez.
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