October 16

Off at dawn with Caleb for a birthday day in Catalina.
We spent a lot of time admiring how these catamarans propel themselves and imagining if you could ski on the wake. It really was entertaining and we passed the hour quite happily.
Time for breakfast! Let's see. Bacon of course. Extra crispy bacon and hot chocolate!! Yummy!

We chose this lovely place along the main drag and while we were eating...
...this seagull started howling and shreaking and squaking his head off trying to get that rival seagull off His heater hood. And no matter how much noise he made the rival was not to be moved.
The seagull and his rival.
On the deck of our 'submarine', getting ready to go down under.

The vehicle itself didn't really submerge but once inside you could look up and see you were in fact under the water. Everyone got a window and we settled in.
The guide would periodically go back outside and throw buckets of fish food into the water causing the fish to literally charge the boat.

We were on the first boat of the day so the guide said the fish would be particularly active. Wow. These submarine tours have been running for more than thirty years, as long as this has been a protected area, and have stopped in the same three places many times a day for all these years.

This is what one of the frenzies looks like.
At a quieter moment you could really pick out individual fish. We saw whole schools of Garibaldi, Opaleye, Surfperch and others but the most amazing heart stopping sight which I Failed to catch with my camera was a cormorant who dived under the sub so you could see him pass going down on one side and back up on the other. It was so quick and so amazing it took several seconds to figure out what had happened.

The giant kelp forest is also a highlight of the reserve with some species of kelp growning an inch per hour. Hey Caleb's mom and dad, we had fun and we learned stuff too!
Another view of the catamarans that are now providing the majority of the transportation services from the mainland to Catalina.
Caleb was quite entranced with the look of the town. He noticed that the strange vehicles, the stone streets, the village-style buildings all made you feel like you had traveled off into another country.

We met up with A&C while they ate lunch at a sidewalk cafe, Caleb got some delicious chocolate ice-cream, and then we were off to join our jeep and driver.
Ya-hoooo! The Catalina Conservancy Half Day Island Tour!!
The Catalina Conservancy is in charge of all this back-country on Catalina and we learned some of the history of the area. If you're interested, Click Here: Santa Catalina Island Conservancy.

See those two buffalo in the lower left corner? We just Loooved seeing them way out there and whoever among us spotted them first got a nice hand from the group and we urged the guide to please find us some closer.

The main reason to pay the big bucks for this tour is that you can't get here otherwise except on bus tours as the Conservancy has some exclusive rights, and keys, to get you around.
A view from the top.
Men going off to do manly things...
Tooling along at a very modest pace we came upon this big guy.

He was standing right where we needed to go and he was not about to move. Our driver didn't want to honk or do anything to annoy him and eventually she simply gave up waiting. Fine. She turned around, and we took an alternate route taking an extra half hour or so. Really.
This is a kind of rescue station where a very cool fox came right up to this fence for a chat.
In the aviary for birds that can't fly they had a bald eagle and this hawk.
From A&C, arriving at our picnic site.
Treats provided by the tour operator.

We're now on 'the other side' of the island at a lovely secluded bay the vision of which caused A&C to proclaim that Nepenthe really needed to see this place.

After this we went to the cute-as-pie airport located at the top of one of the highest mountains there, then back down and goodby to our guide and our sturdy jeep.
Next A&C took us out on their zodiac to motor over to Nepenthe for a snack and a nice tour for Caleb to see a little of what it's like to live on a sailboat. (What in the World happened to the picture of Caleb at the helm!?!)

We motored back into town and then Caleb got to choose whatever he'd like to eat. I would never have guessed. He chose chicken strips at KFC! Then back on the catamaran, and home sweet home.

(included in this story: Caleb Brown, Alex Lopez, Carol Lopez)
HomeUSA LA! Home Sweet Home • Catalina Island • '04 Oct: Catalina Island

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