TopKayaker.Net's Guide To Kayak Destinations

A Tribute to Santa Catalina Island, California
Despite the terrifying fire that consumed 4,750 acres of chaparral, grassland, coastal sage scrub and oak woodland, causing the call for a complete evacuation, the ferries are running and visitors are welcome back to Santa Catalina Island.

The accident on May 10th, 2007 that sent flames roaring through the dry island-scape, consuming thousands of acres, threatening decades of work by the Catalina Island Nature Conservancy, stopped short of destroying it as a recreation outlet for Southern Californians. Santa Catalina is open for business as well as preservation efforts once again and has gained renewed interest nationwide; but the 21 mile open ocean crossing from the California coast has long been a topic of interest at our forum. Here are some links to stories, forum topics, and comments in tribute to Santa Catalina Island resources.

Santa Catalina Island Crossing By Calamari Chris - Here are trip reports from two of the author's many 52 mile round-trip kayak crossing experiences to Santa Catalina Island from San Pedro's Cabrillo Beach; his first in August 2000 and one later in 2004 by a paddler significantly more familiar with the route. Photos are from his 2005 crossing.

Catalina Island Kayak ExpeditionsCatalina Island Kayak Expeditions - Descanso Beach Ocean Sports, Catalina Island's only year-round kayak outfitter - The fire burned close to several camp and yacht club facilities as well to the edge of Avalon where one home and six outbuildings were consumed. Among the damage were 25 kayaks belonging to Catalina Island Kayak Expeditions, including many two-hatch Scupper Pros, a rare find these days to sit-on-top kayak expedition enthusiast.

Created in April of 1994 by husband & wife team Randy Brannock and Mary Stein, the family run, program rich expedition and tour business is open and ready for the season. Operating year-round much of their fleet was down at the beach, safe & sound. Kayak models available for rent include Ocean Kayak Malibu II & XL, Cabo and the two hatch Scupper Pro, Scupper Pro Tank-well version also available on request.

If you are feeling somewhat timid about making the 21 mile open ocean crossing by kayak, visit their website and find all the information you could possibly need on ways to get you and/or your kayak to the island; what to bring or where to buy supplies; where to paddle, stay, or camp. They offer tours, including guided natural history kayak tours, and/or guidance and directions to the best kayaking experiences Santa Catalina has to offer. Basically they are one of the most full-service educational and family oriented outfitters you could hope for and their website represents that fact well.

Primitive Boat-In Campsite information: There are designated primitive coastal campsites with access by water only and requiring reservations. Owned by the Catalina Island Conservancy & requiring Leave No Trace practices.

For developed campsites, reservations: Visit Catalina Island

Climate Station and Rainfall Data readings for Santa Catalina Island. There are three meteorological stations on the island. One each at Middle Ranch, Wild Boar Gully and Parsons Landing. These stations record temperature, rainfall, relative humidity, incoming solar radiation, and wind speed and direction.

Catalina Conservancy Divers - CCD was formed in 1991 with the goal of assisting the Conservancy in achieving its mission with respect to Catalina's marine environment. The membership consists of scuba divers but there are also members who are marine researchers, boat owners, and other persons interested in the near-shore waters of Santa Catalina Island.

The mission of CCD is to document, study and conserve the complex marine environment that surrounds Catalina and they set up a temporary underwater naturalist trail, called Casino Point Scuba Trail, once a month within the Casino Point Marine Park (Avalon) to help educate the diving community to the dynamics of the unique kelp forest ecosystem.

Catalina Island Conservancy - All monitored foxes are accounted for; the welfare of their cubs under investigation; Bald Eagle young survived. Bison have been seen alive at the burn sights. One hiking trail is closed as well as one wilderness campsite. Donations are being collected by a Fire Restoration Fund.

Recreation opportunities and guidelines can be found here with links. This website is indispensable to the kayaker or anyone visiting the island. It gives a thorough glimpse of the island's noncommercial side with up-to-date wildlife and ecology news, including inland hiking trail information.

Get yourself ready!


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