Catalina Island….Santa Ana Winds, Fire and Wildlife…….

Dear F&F,
Our sail from Santa Barbara Island to Catalina Island was uneventful until
we arrived at the West End of Catalina. Where we saw a 90 foot long BLUE
WHALE, 100 yards off the beach.
We took a few photos and enjoyed tagging along enroute to Cherry Cove at the
Isthmus of Catalina. We enjoyed the hiking, getting the laundry done and
generally had very nice Fall weather.
This was the week that the Santa Ana Wind event was predicted to be a
memorable one. We moved to Big Geiger Cove awaiting our friends, Mike and
Beth aboard s/v \”Scotch Mist\”. We had the cove to ourselves and went for
some wonderful long hikes.

Here we came across the Catalina Island Conservancy and Fish and Game staff
who had just trapped a Catalina Island Fox. These are endangered animals
and are currently down to about 1500 animals on the Island.
They are having an epidemic of ear cancer (of all things!) and the
Vetenarian who was with the group was cleaning out the Fox\’s ears and taking
tissue samples. Photos of this will be posted on the website.

When Mike and Beth arrived, Beth and Cindy went for a long hike and came
across several Catalina Island Buffalo. We came across these very large and
splendid beasts several times during our stay. Photos of this will be posted
on the website soon. We cut our visit short at Big Geiger Cove as the winds
were predicted to be fierce and the Southern California Wildfires began. We
moved around to Catalina Harbor in very bumpy conditions while Mike and Beth
headed back to Redondo Beach. We were moored in \”Cat Harbor\” with about 50
other boats awaiting the winds. The wind event lasted about 24 hours for us
with the last gust to 42 knots being the strongest. When the winds finally
died off, the smoke from the fires on the coast had covered every boat in
ash. At night you could see the ash raining down in the light of a
flashlight. This lasted for almost a week!

We met up again with new friends Eric & Emmy out of San Francisco who were
former caretakers of Palmyra Island, (800 miles SW of Hawaii) owned by the
Nature Conservancy. We would be loosely following each other down the
Pacific Coast. After a few days in Cat Harbor, we started to head toward
Avalon going around the \”backside\” of the Island. We took a detour into
\”Little Harbor\” and instantly fell in love. Photos will be posted….soon.
We went snorkeling, watched the ash fall from the sky and had a magic day at
this beautiful spot all to ourselves. Hiking, MORE Buffalo and a glorious

The next day we motored to Avalon and saw USCG Cutter \”Blackfin\” checking on
various boats. Something was up, but we will never know what. We arrived
in Avalon, had a few great days of hiking, saw wild deer, did somemore
laundry and generally relaxed. The ash still fell and I had to wash what
looked like mud off the boat every day for a week. It was now time to get
back to the coast and continue the \”Good Bye Contractor Tour\” from Long
Beach to San Diego………