Sunday, July 24, 2011



Ed and I drove to Dana Point to take the Catalina Express to Catalina for the day.

Leaving Dana Point for Avalon, CatalinaZip line platform
Catalina is one of the eight Channel Islands off the Southern California.  Five of the islands make up the  Chanel Islands Nationl Park. The earliest settlers  date back at least 7000 years.  The island was claimed by Rodriguez Cabrillo in 1542 for Spain.  Sebastian Viscaino named the island in 1702 after the Feast Day of St. Catherine .  The first development was in 1887 by George Shatto with a wharf and the Hotel Metropole and the area was named Avalon..  Later the Banning brothers took over developing Avalon adding an aquarium, amphitheater and dance pavilion.  They also introduced the glass bottom boat.  Unfortunately half of Avalon burned in 1915  and the Banning brothers were not able to recover  financially.  William Wrigley, Jr. took over financing the Santa Catalina Island Company and he built an airport, constructed  a home, added large passenger steamships and built the Casino

 Much of the island is undeveloped  and cared for by the Santa Catalina Island Conservancy. The Casino is Avalon’s most recognizable sight and the Ballroom was famous for Big Band performances. A museum at the Casino has exhibits on the history of Catalina, Hollywood Stars associated with the island and the decorative tiles and pottery produced locally until 1937.

                               Local trolley
Catalina Yacht Club

There are plenty of activities to enjoy: swimming, fishing, shopping, dining, glass bottom boats, parasailing, hiking, backcountry  tours, and there is even a new zip line.  We took 2 tours during this visit to see some of the back country along with a tour of Avalon. Both were informative and worthwhile.


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