I have island fever — not in the “I’m sick of” way, but in the “I cannot get enough of” way. Growing up along the coast of Southern California, I would look across at Catalina Island and daydream of life twisted up with a high amount of adolescent drama and angst (of which I am yet to let go). I was there for the obligatory Girl Scout camp (yes, I passed the deep-sea swim test so I had the “cool” swim cap), ditch day in high school (although the rebellious nature of ditching is somewhat lost when the school sanctions the event), and a sailing trip or day trip here and there…in other words, not too often. This enables Catalina to retain that elusive island charm I crave…Catalina Island, 26 miles across the sea (give or take a mile).
One of my friends from Northern California was coming down and suggested a girls’ outing so we rustled up a crew and set sail for a one day trip to the island. The seas were a bit rough on the way over, but that added to the fun (except for the poor girl huddled near the window whose head was continually in the sick bag as her mom rubbed her back).
Trying to “belly up to the bar” took on new meaning. However, my tenacious friends and I found our way.
As we docked at Avalon Harbor, the sun was out, the skies were blue, the temperature was great and we were hungry. This lead us to Bluewater Avalon. It was right on the water and in the center of town. The food was good, the waiters were friendly, and our conversation was great (friends never have quiet moments — even when they’re saying nothing).
After lunch, it was excursion time. We went on the glass bottom boat ride which was surprisingly fun for adults. Be sure to take the boat at the end of the pier as it is a higher end tour group, but be careful with the fish food as a slight shake and it rips apart (who knew?).
Next up, pedal boat and paddle board.
I went on the pedal boat because a) my balance is non-existent and b) I didn’t want to work that hard on my “daycation”. However, I didn’t know I was on-board with a rogue thrill seeker until she was ready to lodge us under a dock that almost dips into the water at points (perhaps exaggerating, but it was close) at the far side of the harbor. While pedaling among the anchored yachts, we saw seals, flying fish and a terrified dog that was dripping wet on its owner’s paddle board.
After such exertion, we needed some more food and drinks. We quickly got tattoos from a child (or maybe we are getting older?) that airbrushed temporary ones on us and then we headed back to Bluewater Avalon (it was that good). Here I was introduced to the famous Catalina Island Buffalo Milk drink, something like a milk shake but for adults.
We wandered through a few shops on our way back to the boat for the mainland. The ocean was smooth this direction and, as the island details faded, its silhouette conjured up my beloved daydreams and my dad’s voice singing this tune,
Until next time Catalina…