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  • Writer's pictureStephanie Maher

Endless fun on Santa Catalina: Leaping Tuna, Buffalo Milk and Ravens

Friday October 30th, the day before Halloween. Chad and I walked to Green Pleasure Pier and took pictures of huge “leaping” Tuna that had just been caught that day. We could over here the cheers of the fishermen when the weight of the tuna was announced. It was interesting to see. It is amazing to think that monsters of the deep where caught and weighed on the island for about 122 years, ever since the beginning of the Tuna Club was founded in 1898 by Charles Holder, after having caught a 183lb “leaping tuna” as he described. Charles Holder is often depicted standing next to the tuna that he caught with “Mexican Joe” by side, his oarsman at the time.

One of the tiles embroidering the walkway to Casino Point depicts this famous image. Charles Holder was a naturalist and prolific writer. He was famous for his many publications article about Santa Catalina and other natural marvels found around the world. For more information about Charles Holder click here.

Next to weigh station is the Avalon Seafood and Fish Market known for its famous fish and chips. Other stores along Green Pleasure Pier include Catalina Diver’s Supply Kiosk (tank and gear rentals for diving or snorkeling), Avalon Boat Stand, and Love Catalina Island’s Visitor Center. For information about the history of the pier click here. Relatively few people dotted the small strip of beach on either side of the turquoise/green 407ft pier. Some lay on the beach soaking up the October sun while others lazily walked up and down Crescent Ave gazing at the view of the bay and quaint little shops.

The many shops along Crescent Avenue carry designer sunglasses, clothes, and unique souvenirs, such as Catalina Shades Sugarloaf Books and Video. It is one of the few souvenir shops on the island that sells artistic glass pipes, bongs, grinders, and a selection of CBD products. One of the highlights of the store are the massage chairs in the back.

Other shops along Crescent Avenue sell beautiful artwork of the coastal themes of Avalon such as Afishinados Gallery which offer unique pieces of jewelry and handmade sculptures of sea life. For freshly brewed coffee and beer check out

As we continued toward Cabrillo Mole on Pebbly Beach Road, Chad and I watched the billowing parasails in the distance pulled by the speedboats that cruised by way in the distance We reminisced about when he had we first visited the island and parasailed together in 2013 To book a parasailing tour click here.

Passing the Cabrillo Mole, we rested on some benches enjoying the view of the bay next to a rock outcrop where cormorants hang out and soak in the sun. While snorkeling at Casino Point Dive park, I have seen many of cormorants dive into the water and snatch up fish. It is fascinating to watch the cormorant’s feathers reflect the sun while they are under the water. The water clarity has been getting clearer and the water temperature dropping but I get out there everyday and go swimming. The water temperature is about 19.9°C/67.8°F. The cold water is healthy and makes me feel invigorated.

We continued along Pebbly Beach Road and continued towards Lover’s Cove. The water that day was crystal clear, and it was low tide. It was completely flat with a soft surge of the ocean. Only a few people were in the water looking at the bright orange Garibaldi. The bright orange of the Garibaldi is extraordinary because we can see the fish from far away. After our short walk along Pebbly Beach Road passing Lovers Cove, we finally made it to Pebbly Beach . Recently in October a Hawaiian Baptism was taken place at Pebbly Beach and was described in the Catalina Islander in this week’s issue. To see more information, click here.

Before laying out on the beach we went over to The Buffalo Nickel to order their famous Buffalo Milk. The Buffalo Nickel is a Family Mexican restaurant and located right next to a Helicopter Landing Pad. Inside Buffalo Nickel I noticed the cleanliness of the restaurant. The bathrooms were spotless and the service fast. All the customers are seated in the patio, socially distanced from each other. The Buffalo Milk is amazing. We ordered one to go and drank it on Pebbly Beach as we watched the helicopters fly over our heads and listened to reggae. It is an alcohol beverage made with Vodka, half and half and banana liqueur with sweet hints of nutmeg and chocolate. It reminded us of a White Russian. It is served in a huge plastic cup with swirls of chocolate sauce and whipped cream. It had to have been about 16 oz. I was happy we shared just one.

Halloween was fantastic in Avalon. Many people participated in the Golf Cart parade beginning at Casino Point. The parade was mostly just for the little kids that dressed up in their costumes. Many children dressed up as Mermaids and Princesses, Superheroes, Monsters and Pirates. As the Golf Cart parade made its way around Avalon at about 4pm all the little kids dressed in their costumes waved to the cheering and clapping pedestrians.

An article in the recent issue of the Catalina Islander entitled “Pandemic’s unexpected impact on Catalina” written by David N. Young, explains how there are some positive trends that have been happening alongside the misfortunes brought upon by the pandemic. One of the good things that has changed in Avalon is that more families with children have been visiting Avalon. According to the article, Mayor Anni Marshall explains, “People are working from home and many children are attending school via distance learning, so visitors are bringing their children with them. It’s so nice to see more children on the island.” For more information about the article click here.

The Sunday after Halloween, Chad and I had another fantastic day. We both enjoyed the ocean water in the morning at Casino Dive Park finding treasures and sea life. In the afternoon we walked up to the viewpoint on top of Mt Ada by the Wrigley mansion and watched the magnificent and unusually huge ravens play in the afternoon sun. What is so striking and awe-inspiring about the ravens is how they circle each other, dive bomb and spin in the air like footballs. We could not keep our eyes off them. It looked like they were having fun and we had fun watching them.

Charles Holder recorded the playful nature of the Avalon ravens in his book entitled “The Channel Islands of California” that he published in 1910. On page 18, he describes the ravens making “nests in the cliffs near Avalon and were very ingenious in stealing the young turkeys and chickens from the ranch of Chicken John, a character of the canyon back of Avalon. When the wind blew, I have seen these birds flying along the cliff on the north side of Avalon Bay, one hundred feet up, turning complete somersaults in the air, like tumbler pigeons, though evidently in play.”

Stretching out our gaze over Avalon and the Pacific Ocean we watched the ravens play before us like the way Charles Holder did 110 years ago. It felt satisfying to enjoy the viewpoint of Mt. Ada, just above the Cabrillo Mole, and watching passengers embark and disembark from the Catalina Flyer, the ferry that takes people journeying to and from the island every day.

We thank our friends who like and share our blogs on the Catalina Discussion Board on Facebook and on our website You are a part of our vision to inspire the world to discover inspiration through adventures. Magic happens when you pursue your destiny that is written in your heart. It will take you places. I get the ultimate high when I inspire people through my adventures. Thank you to everyone for making my dream a reality. Just seeing Chad smile, I did not want the day to end. It feels good to be living on Santa Catalina Island because it is our destiny to be here. Santa Catalina is our home of endless fun. We have much to accomplish here and we are happy and excited to share our upcoming adventures with you.

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