Catalina Island

On Saturday, my wonderful husband took me to Catalina Island as an early dirty thirty birthday celebration. It was another LA bucket list item that we wanted to do together before moving (less than two weeks! Eek!). I thought I had never been to Catalina before, but when I was talking to my mom about our weekend plans, she told me that this photo was taken on Catalina back in the day:

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Apparently I enjoyed myself just as much back then as I did now.

Early Saturday morning, we drove to Long Beach to board the Catalina Express to take us to the bustling metropolis of Avalon (ok it’s only one square mile) on Catalina. A couple of tips regarding the ferry if you’re interested in traveling to the island: 1. If it’s your actual birthday, you get to travel free! 2. At Costco, you can buy discount gift cards to save you some money for the voyage. It’s a good deal.

Our approach to the island (already a beautiful day!):

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As soon as we arrived, we grabbed our bikes which we brought with us to get around from place to place. (You can also get passes, I believe, from the Catalina Conservancy to bike all around the island on trails, but we just stuck to the roads that don’t require the pass.) Kale had a surprise activity planned, which I was thrilled to discover was kayaking and snorkeling!
We headed off in our two person kayak for about a 45 minute trip along the coast to the north of Avalon until we reached a little place called Willow Cove that the kayak people recommended.

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We pulled ashore, enjoyed some delicious fruit and a light lunch

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and prepared for some snorkeling. The girls at the rental place almost talked us out of wet suits, telling us that they had been out the day before without them and the water was pretty warm (with the disclaimer that they were born and raised on the island). I’m so glad we got the suits anyway because that water was NOT warm! It took some major coaxing to get me in there because it was so cold, my teeth were chattering like crazy and it was even hard to breathe. Eventually I got used to it and enjoyed it, but we were only able to go for a out 20 minutes.

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The kayak trip back to Avalon was…well eventful! There were some adorable sea lions who played close to our kayak and we stopped several times to watch them. At one point, we passed a kid’s camp where a Catalina Express was loading up people to take them home. We waited for several minutes as we didn’t want to get in their way. Eventually they started slowly backing up, and we thought that they would continue slowly backing up until a reasonable distance from us, but then suddenly they revved the motors and took off!! We didn’t stand a chance. The wake washed over us and tipped us over, sending all of our stuff all over the place. Luckily everything floated (and our valuables were in a dry pack) but it took awhile to gather everything and tipped the kayak back the right way! Not to mention all the camp people were busting their guts laughing at us from the dock (but eventually were helpful in helping us retrieve all our belongings). Once we were reassembled, we had a good laugh about it and no harm was done (except perhaps our slightly wounded pride and dignity).

Upon our arrival back in Avalon, we headed to the beach for a few hours because we were tired! I even had a bit of a siesta.

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We had some yummy nachos

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and read and relaxed for a few hours. We then grabbed our bikes and headed up a pretty steep uphill to a lookout and then south of Avalon to explore for awhile.

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It was a pretty perfect day! Avalon is pretty touristy but we were able to do a lot of fun activities that took us away from that scene and let us enjoy the beautiful island. I’m so happy we made it out there before leaving LA!

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Workouts in recent days:
Thursday: 3.5 miles in my neighborhood
Friday: 9 miles along the beach (decided to do my long run early since we had a busy weekend)
Saturday: Cross-train (kayaking, biking, some swimming)
Sunday: rest
Monday: Cross-train (30 min elliptical, 15 min stationary bike, arms, abs)

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