Memories of Catalina

Santa Catalina island is one of my favorite places. Although it is in Los Angeles county and less than 30 miles from mainland Southern California, it is almost like entering a different country. Southern California is a mass of freeways with bumper to bumper cars and lots of people. There is only one town on Catalina (Avalon), Avalon has a population of less than 3000 people and only a few cars, tour busses, and a few delivery vans. Most everyone gets around in golf carts. In the 1960s I had a friend with a 30 foot cruiser, about once a month, four of us would go over to Catalina and spend a weekend SCUBA diving. If I had to work Saturdays, my friends would load my dive gear on the boat and I would catch a Grumman Goose amphibian at Long Beach airport and fly over to Catalina for a Sunday dive. We usually anchored in Catalina harbor at the isthmus to spend the night and that is where the flight I would take would land. The boat owner would row over in a dingy to pick me up. Usually we never set foot on the island, just stayed in the water or on the boat, there was one exception, we had an emergency, One Saturday night we ran out of beer, There was a small store at Two Harbors, so we cruised around the west end of the island and took the dingy into Two Harbors and bought several cases of beer, enough to get us through our Sunday dives. We have been to Avalon once, Myrna and I spent a week end there to celebrate our wedding anniversary. We stayed in a nice hotel, ate in some of the good restaurants, and played tourist. We cruised the harbor in a glass bottomed boat and took a tour bus around the island. I wish I could have seen Catalina in the 1930s, when big bands were playing at the casino and people got to Catalina on the “Great White Steamship” Catalina. A little before my time.

KISL Avalon                              Listen live Avalon Radio

26 Miles,                                  The Four Preps

Avalon Town,                      The Clicquot Club Eskimos

Avalon,                                Al Jolson

Catalina Pirate Party, MGM short subject 1935