Atlantis Alumni

Monday, May 12, 2014

Great Adventures On Santa Catalina Island

Known as a playground of the rich, Catalina is a remarkably pretty island situated some 26 miles off the coast of California near Los Angeles. After we docked in the morning Dan went on an excursion to the botanical garden, saw the Wrigley Memorial, and toured around the town of Avalon. We met up around noon and enjoyed a look at the remarkable “Casino,” a movie and show palace built in the 1920s. The nearby museum has lots of historical exhibits and photographs of the many Hollywood celebrities who frequented the island. In the morning Jim took a power boat a couple of miles out to sea from Avalon, the only incorporated town on Catalina Island, to observe wildlife. We quickly located several pods of dolphins. We then encountered several huge sunfish. Finally we visited a colony of sea lions not so busy basking themselves on a deserted beach. They do this to warm their body temperature after a night of swimming and feeding in the nearby cold waters. There were also many brown pelicans nearby. In the afternoon Jim went scuba diving, a special treat, in the beautiful underwater kelp forest that grows from the seafloor to the surface. There is an abundance of sea life in the protected kelp sanctuary. In addition to colorful native fish like the bright orange Garibaldi, Jim saw a shy octopus and a couple of Moray eels. So far, visiting Catalina Island turned out to be an unexpected spectacular highlight of the cruise.--Jim

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