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Catalina Express (Long Beach)

 


 
  

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Catalina's Got Me Coming and Going

 

Sometimes we're so busy we don't know if we're coming or going. But going from Newport Beach (shown in the top left photo along with Balboa Pavilion), to arriving at Catalina Island shown in the other three photos, is unmistakable. On the mainland, it's a lot of driving. On the island, you can take a golf cart, rent a taxi, take a tour bus, rent a boat, or simply walk. However, you must leave the cars behind because tourists simply can't rent them.

 

Much is written about the fun and good times on Catalina Island, but there's a lot less buzz about the boat trip and riding the Catalina Flyer that departs once daily to and from Newport Beach. If you have a private yacht or sailboat, your experiencing isn't quite the same. But for us average folks who must hop a ride on the high speed catamarans out of Newport Beach (or Long Beach) some have trepidation and fear about the hour-long ride.

 

First off, the ride is incredibly gentle and hardly noticeable, even to the most sensitive passengers. From the moment you launch after boarding the boat next to the Balboa Fun Zone and Balboa Pavilion, the ride out of the harbor is smooth as glass. In the morning light it just makes the day feel right to be out on the water enjoying the scenery.

 

Riding past the seals and sea lions in the channel, you hit the open seas and the speed picks up. They claim the Catalina Flyer is the fastest moving yacht of the various fleets between the island and mainland, which staff tells us is 27.5 miles between Newport Beach & Avalon.

 

The top deck is open air, and most people start there, then move down into the other two levels (both inside & out) when the boat gets moving. It's quite windy on top and though enjoyable on a warm, sunny day, the ride can include a misty sea spray from time to time.

 

You may see pods of dolphins, or even the migrating whales during your travels. The captain will point out these beautiful creatures.

 

With a cocktail bar, soft drinks, coffee, muffins, candy snacks, and other goodies, you can grab your light breakfast on the sea. There are restrooms, indoor & outdoor seating, and tables where kids like to play games or color.  Also on board is a tour ticket sales person, selling the Discovery Tour Combos tickets.

 

The hour goes fast and soon you are cruising into the harbor of the island, looking at the landmark Avalon Ballroom.

 

On your cell phone, you call to your people already staying in Avalon, and you wave from the boat. You've made it to paradise. It's such an enjoyable trip!

 

 

 

 

 
 


 


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