Luckily swept away to Catalina Island
After many months of going with next to nothing my wife and I decided to get out of our Goleta house and see what travel adventures we could find.
Embracing all the peculiarities of the world linked to the pandemic, the Catalina Island Company set us up for an extensive three-day tour that complied with all state safety protocols while still allowing us to enjoy all that this iconic island has to offer.
Boarding Catalina express out of Long Beach, we lowered our masks and sipped our complimentary mimosas as we cruised across the vivid blue Pacific.
As we disembarked at Avalon we were greeted by bright sunshine and an abundance of Garibaldi fish in the crystal clear waters.
Stroll along the Avalon waterfront, past the historic Catalina Casino and arrive at Descanso Beach Club, we enjoyed the fresh ceviche, nachos and a few margaritas while our toes played in the sand under our table.
At the renovated Prohibition house, a beautiful hilltop lodge, we gazed out at Catalina Harbor to the west and the two harbors to the east as the stresses of mainland life receded.
Our first morning was spent kayaking until USC Wrigley Institute at Fisherman’s Cove where we were told the snorkeling was excellent. We slipped into the water just warm enough not to wear a wetsuit, spotting fish of all shapes, sizes and vivid colors in the serene world below us.
At Harbor Reef Restaurant and Lounge that night we enjoyed a delicious tuna tartare, coconut shrimp and the best swordfish I have ever tasted, washed down with the island’s signature Buffalo Milk cocktail.
Back in Avalon, we settled into the newly renovated Atwater Hotel and after dinner overlooking Avalon Harbor, we took an evening stroll up to the clock tower above the city to take in the phenomenal views.
Refuel the next morning with coffee and pastries from the Bistro at Atwater, a lovely cafe on the ground floor of the hotel, we walked to Tour Plaza in the city center to board our Rumble & Trek Hummer biofuel.
We were greeted by our guide and longtime islander Delilah before she drove us to the famous Airport in the sky Restaurant, 1,602 feet above the sea. A three mile hike along the Airport Loop Trail with incredible views of the entire island made our blood rush, as did spotting the island’s most famous residents, the bison!
We decided to forgo the zipline tour that afternoon and slow down instead, taking the hotel’s free bikes and exploring the island at our own pace.
Back in Long Beach the next day, relaxed smiles under our masks, we were already dreaming of our return.
For more information on Catalina Island and all it has to offer, visit visitcatalinaisland.com.