• Stephanie Maher

It’s just the beginning

August 6 2020

Chad and I finally hit the water this morning at Casino Point dive park. The water was calm and easy to get in. It was cold but invigorating. The kelp touched my ankles as I kicked through the water and the bright orange Ghirabladi took a close look at me. Chad started his first day working with The Diving Catalina Company and completed two successful dives and spotted the giant black bass that the waters are famous for.

Sitting at Casino Point in Avalon I look up to the blue sky and realize we have only been here a day I love being here. It feels like we are living in paradise. Of all the places we have traveled to, visiting Santa Catalina is like going home or seeing an old friend again. It might be because it is where he fell in love. But Catalina lingers in pleasure despite the hardships facing our world is facing right now and you can see it in the way people smile, laugh, and relax in the sun. I can hear the mission bells ring nearby, dogs are running around and barking and jumping into the water. Palm trees shade the divers as they get in and out of the water to rinse off equipment and talk about the sea life. Next to Casino point is a floating repair barge, looks like a floating two-story house. Kayakers and can be seen along with parasailers. Seagulls are lined along like rocks soaking in the sun.

Casino point is located on the left side of Avalon bay when looking out into the ocean and it is named after the large circular “Casino” building lined with American flags on the roof. It was once a ballroom in the 1930’s and 70’s but it is now closed and open only for special occasions. Artwork surrounds the building; the entrance is decorated with elaborate tile work of mermaids and sea life. There are stories of the Casino being haunted.

            We had our morning coffee at the Catalina Coffee and Cookie Co., a small eatery, tucked within the Metropole Market. The Café serves many savory breakfast items and freshly brewed coffee, although Toyon Grill offers a tastier breakfast sandwich. It was about a five-minute walk from where we are staying for the next week. Our little vacation brb is on Clarissa Ave, located on the second story of a small condo. It is right across the street from where we first laid eyes.

Yesterday we snorkeled at Lover’s Cove, just to the right of Avalon Bay if you are looking out into the ocean. It is another beautiful spot to spend your afternoon. Just watch out for the glass bottom boats that float by. That night Chad and I had our long awaited “Poke” at Luau Larry’s.

The air smells like kelp and fish and seagull poop. The sky is totally blue. It feels like the perfect day! The crescent shape of Avalon bay, once known as the Bay of Moons, is surrounded by the striking backdrop of the chaparral mountains, that loom over the small town waiting to be explored. Ravens soar over the cliff sides and swoop down to the beach to snatch some forgotten food. Bison roam the hills and foxes hide within the scrub oak. There are innumerable boats parked in the bay adding to the ambiance. The beaches are packed with tourists from all over. They try to practice social distancing. People wear masks while walking down the streets lined with colorful buildings of restaurants shops and hotels.

I love the tiles that border the town; they line benches, sidewalks, and the sides of buildings. They depict the sea life, birds and Galleons that may have once landed on the island to bury booty. What I love most about Avalon are the majestic Ravens. They are huge and magnificent, and I am reminded of the old tales of Sebastian Vizcaino when he arrived in 1602 and noted that the Native Americans, called the Pimu’gnans considered them sacred. Avalon is a great place to enjoy a sunny day and relax looking out into the calm waters. This is all just the beginning. 



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