Duckworks - Outings
The Online Magazine For Amateur Boat Builders

West End - Catalina Island
by Donovan

Date 7/7/05 7/11/05 Engine hours 9.1
Weather foggy/low clouds 60's Fuel on board 12.0
Wind 8 to 10 knots from the West Fuel used 11
Water Conditions light chop 65F Miles traveled 108

The weather was the typical June/July coastal overcast with some patchy fog, this was a relief as I had just left 95 degree temperatures at home the previous day.

The run out to Two Harbor on Catalina Island is 23 miles from Long Beach Harbor. I started about 7:30 pm after anchoring in San Pedro the night before in Hurricane Gulch. The wind was very light and the swell was running about two feet at 10 second intervals. This made for a very smooth trip across Catalina Channel and I arrived at Two Harbors at 9:05 a.m.

Looking at the west end of Catalina island from 4 miles out

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Coming out the week after the 4th of July weekend cleared out the Holiday crowd. Don't come to the island on any major summer holiday unless you want to fight for a mooring or watch people try to anchor in 90 feet of water with 100 feet of rode. They then jump on the shore taxi as the boat they just anchored starts to drift to shore to meet them.

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Two Harbors

Ship rock is about two miles out from the Harbor and has a reef that extends around it that provides some excellent fishing and has taken its share of sailboats that passed too near.

Ship Rock

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The large cove at Two Harbors has 249 moorings and anchorages for around 100.

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Looking East

On the pier is located the Harbor Department which monitor VHF channel 9 for mooring, information or assistance.

Welcome to Two Harbors
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Two Harbors is located 12 miles up the coastline from Avalon but a world away. You have a small intimate place, dinghy dock, picnic facilities, small store, camping and lodging area, diving shop and one restaurant.

Bird rock, the small white island in the picture below has snow the year round. Just don't fall down in the snow.

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Notice The white island in the distance, It's called bird rock.

Usually by noon the sun will burn off the low clouds and the water turns a pale blue to match the sky.

On Mooring J22

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Looking West at Two Harbors pier

After several days I dropped my mooring and set course for Little Harbor about 14 miles from Two Harbors around the west end of Catalina Island. The weather was great with light winds and long rolling swells around the end of the island. It is five miles to the west end and when you round the end of the island give it a wide line to make sure you don't get in rough water because of the currents and shallow depth.

Looking back west after rounding the end of the island

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The water on this side of the island is exposed to the open sea and is always rougher with larger swells and wind waves, today it is running smooth with light swells.

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This side of the island has fewer areas to anchor and is not traveled by a lot of boaters compared to the lee side of the island..

Little Harbor is about 8 miles from the end of the island and is my favorite place to anchor on the island. This is a hidden gem for boaters and campers.

Two sand beaches, one perfect for anchoring, swimming and snorkeling, the other has waves for surfing. the Two are divided by a very large rock.

Little Harbor, my favorite place on Catalina Island

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Most of the time when I come here there are few boats if any because this side of the island is considered the wild side. Today I have three other boats when I arrive to share the beauty of the cove.

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This is the reef that protects Little harbor

I have heard that Sunset Magazine recently said the was the number one camping beach on the west coast, but because it is on an island and 6.8 miles walking distance from Two Harbors it still is lightly used and a great place.

The campground and small creek behind the beach

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This cove can get rough if the swell or wind change from the prevailing direction, so you need to listen and watch your weather.

The good news is that just three miles west of Little Harbor is Catalina Harbor that I passed on the way to Little Harbor and after two days here that is where I am heading today.

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Leaving Little Harbor

Three miles west back to Catalina Harbor

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There are only two natural U.S. Coast Guard "Year-round Safe Harbors" in southern California of which Catalina Harbor is one. If you want to relax and not worry about your boat this is the place to be. It's a half mile walk to the village of Two Harbors from the dock.

A natural sand spit occurs about halfway in on the east side.

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Looking for the highest point of the Isthmus at Cat Harbor

Many south sea movies were shot here in the early days of movies. They even brought over buffalo to make westerns and when they finished some escaped and some were abandoned and now Catalina has its own herd of buffalo roaming the hills. A few years ago the buffalo roamed Cat Harbor and Two Harbors and people tried to feed and pet them to their regret. Now the buffalo are kept fenced out of the isthmus.

With the "Bounty" at anchor I could see this being like a south sea island

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I anchored at the very end of the harbor in about three feet of water at low tide. This makes a great place for Sacagawea because not many other boats out here can come into that depth, so it make neighbors far and few between except the kayakers who all stop by and admire Sacagawea.

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Sacagawea anchored at the end of Cat Harbor

Tide out

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After two days at Cat Harbor I headed back west around the end of the island to Two Harbor to top off my gas and head across to the mainland.

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Leaving Cat Harbor; Eagle Rock in the background

The water was a little rougher on the way down to the west end but after rounding the island and getting on the lee side I was riding the south swell to Two Harbor.

I had four gallons of fuel left and decided to top off my tank and grab lunch at the restaurant before heading back across the channel. The lunch was great but I almost choked on the gas bill at the pier. 8.5 gallons cost $32.85. I keep telling myself I could have made it back on the four gallons.

Back on the Lee side of the Island heading east

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All the way back I keep thinking of the money I spent for that gas. The weather was overcast with no wind and a light swell and the "23 miles across the sea" went by with the proposes feeding and me being a little sad that the trip was over.

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Leaving Two Harbors

Just a note, I checked my gas with my gas stick I made and marked in half gallon intervals. I could have made it with just under two gallons left.

Angels Gate Lighthouse

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