One of the greatest things in my life is that I have the ability to travel. Near and far. Living in Southern California has a lot of perks, but having places like Catalina Island in my backyard is one of the best.
Neal and I switch off between Seattle and LA for our visits. One weekend he was coming to see me in LA, and we decided to make a day trip to the island. Well, I propositioned the idea and he totally made it happen (he'll argue this to the grave). Nonetheless, it's one of my many favorite things about him - he absolutely loves adventure as much as I do, if not more, and he has the drive and dedication to make it happen. He has this uncanny way of turning my cloudy dreams into realities. I love him for it.
Now, I want to start by saying I did not apply filters to any of these photos. Well, minus the one of Neal and I later on because yes I did post that to social media and of course the rule is there has to be a filter. But the rest - nude! They really just look that crazy stunning!
The ferry ride is short - about an hour and a half to the island in the morning fog, and an hour return. Neal set the tickets up for me; we'd be leaving bright and early - mostly early because the sun wasn't even out yet. If we were going to make a day trip, it was going to be a full day.
Many people travel to the island and stay the night or are there with their kids for the week, but we couldn't justify it when we already had a place to stay in LA just across the water. So, we packed everything we could in a small backpack and left for the ferry half asleep.
The water was insane. The beaches around the city can't compare; it was so nice to get away from the gray water surrounded by a billion tourists and see something pure. We were both equally freaking out upon docking - the way the buildings looked nestled in the hills of the island and the way the water rocked the boats in the harbor - it was straight out of a movie. Probably has been in a movie... Actually I think my mom was texting me last week asking it the building in the show she was watching was Catalina - and it was the same building in the photo above. Anyway back to the point ---
We walked along the pier to the sidewalk kissing the water's edge and got our bearings. There are three cities on the island, and Avalon is the largest (which isn't saying a whole lot, considering you can see the entire city upon arrival).
We wandered in and out of a few places trying to find the perfect breakfast spot. Before too long we followed the low ambient sound of fellow islanders to a coffee shop hidden in a small square. Neal got blueberry coffee - I was skeptical at first but was totally pleasantly surprised when I took a sip. I'd get it myself if I were to go back.
By this time it was...9am. Waking up at 5 sure does extend the day. We continued to wander, not really sure what to do. It was fun and relaxing not having a plan.
Sitting in the sand with someone you love, watching the waves and the boats and the sun rise. It is something that makes the world slow down and brings peace to my heart. I look so much for little things like these moments in my every day life, and Neal gives me so many of these moments. Time with him is always so full of life.
We were some of the first people on the beach. My main concerns were how I was going to survive being in the sun for the entire day without burning to a crisp, but those worries soon were washed away by the excitement and relief that we were there so early.
The beach filled up, fast. If I were to ever go back I would never not get there after 9. I'm talking towel-to-towel close. Neal and I got a perfect spot on the ridge so we could leap down and be in the water, and more importantly so we didn't have beach-goers blocking our view of the ocean.
We moseyed through the day with a slow pace, walking around the small town and enjoying a small lunch at the beach club where our towels were posted. The most important part of this part of our day were the killer deals Neal snagged near the water.
These two, inflatable tubes that we lived on for a few hours. It was so amazing. I think they were around $6 each??? Quite the steal. There were of course more extravagant and immaculate flotation devices, such as swans and lobsters, but these babies did the trick. We floated for hours and hours seamlessly. It was incredibly relaxing. The buffer of boats around the small cove kept the major waves at bay. We held hands/feet to stick together. The water was warm and clean. A huge deal compared to the typical LA coast.
All day we did this relaxation feat. Floating, walking, soaking up the sun. P.S. I have to mention because I'm proud as punch - we are extremely fast learners! During our Big Sur excursion for my birthday earlier this year, we both got sun-burned. Sun-burned is really an understatement...it was more like sun-torched. Anyway, we did NOT make that mistake again. Both of us liberally applied sunscreen, all. day. long. No sunburns for us! Go us. We then took a nap on the beach out of pure sun-ridden exhaustion. Had dinner at a local Mexican restaurant (sorry Neal... Mexican food had my heart first).
Dusk fell, the sun began to set. It got cold, quick.
My advice to anyone visiting the island - bring jackets even if you're annoyed dragging them around all day. You will NOT regret it.
The little island was having some nightly festival, at least that's what I think it was. There was a cover band there doing old rock songs... Neal would be so disappointed that I can't remember what they were covering. This is why I shouldn't wait nearly a year to write these posts.
Nonetheless... It was a fun and characteristic way to end our "summer getaway" on Catalina Island.
The ferry ride back was - can't remember, we slept most of it. Pure exhaustion is definitely a by-product of a day trip like this, however so worth it.
I am in love with this little space. I hope that I make it back there one day. Neal described it best when he said that it felt like we weren't in the US anymore. For a wannabe foreign vacation, go here. You will not be disappointed!