Cruising the West Coast — Santa Catalina Island Part 1

This destination has so much to see and do that I’m going to dedicate a three-part series of photographs to it.  This is the town of Avalon on Santa Catalina Island.

Ursula and I had visited this enchanting little community many years ago with our (then) little ones — Cherry and Tracy.  We arrived on that excursion aboard a ferry from Long Beach, California.  This time we arrived via the Sapphire Princess.

As Avalon Harbor is far too shallow for a cruise ship, we had to tender into this port.  From the pier we then scampered off to the Catalina Casino (which isn’t now and never has been a “casino” in the traditional gambling sense), for we had to meet up with our tour group.  This was to be a rather unique tour, one more suited for nighttime but which we would be taking during the day instead.  It was the Avalon Ghost Tour.  If you can get past all the silly hokum about “ghosts,” “hauntings,” and recent “sightings,” this tour can actually be rather informative in a historic sense, and I recommend it on that basis.

Cars and car ownership are very restricted on Catalina.  Thus, most people (including the locals) get around on mopeds or “autoettes.”  An “autoette” is defined by local ordinance as a gas or electric vehicle less than 55 inches wide, up to 120 inches in length, and weighing under 1,800 pounds.  That pretty much cuts out anything larger than a golf cart or the original British Mini that was in production from 1959 to 2000.  Indeed, those requirements look as if the Mini was what the authors of that ordinance had in mind when they wrote it.  The original Mini was 55 inches wide, 120.2 inches long, and weighed in at between 1,360 and 1,512 pounds.  Coincidental?  Perhaps, but I’m not buying it.

Avalon is also famous for the tiles that were once produced there from local clay from 1927 to 1937.  Finding that original tile is an expensive proposition, but there are stores that carry examples.

You’ll see an example of an Avalon-based Mini below:

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One response to “Cruising the West Coast — Santa Catalina Island Part 1

  1. Linda

    Doug, Catalina Island is a beautiful place and your photos capture the essence of the island. We sailed our MacGregor 26 over to Catalina from San Pedro after only lake sailing two times after we biught it. Ignorance is bliss! :-). Actually we had sailed some with a friend on his “bigger” sailboat & he sailed along w/ us – so we had back up ! :-). It was great. We took the shuttle to the island and had dinner then spent the night on our boat. Such nice memories your pictures brought back to mind. Thank You!