rhumb line to catalina we go

san diego to avalon and back

11 days in September 2010

How far is it? long does it take?

Wind and current seem always to be on the nose going rhumb line from San Diego to Avalon, but with limited time and a smooth but slow diesel, it's rhumb line there and back this year. 12 1/2 hours up and 11 1/2 hours back, motoring all the way.

san diego to avalon

Halfway from San Diego to Avalon we're joined by a pod of dolphins for a bit of bow riding fun

On the way home we had many more dolphin encounters, its a thrill to see them rushing up to the boat to ride the bow where they speed under, over, back and forth under the bow, do rolls and occasionally glance up to see how we like the show.

Zip line station 1 and 2
Zip Line Eco Tour


WOW! Lots of great changes in Avalon. The Santa Catalina Island Company completed an $11 million revitalization program to entice visitors and everything looks really sharp. One of the new features was the Zip line, a series of 5 platforms down Descanso Canyon. I thought the price of the zip line tour was pretty steep at $109 but with the 5 separate zips, not so bad. We didn't do it but checked it out on one of our bike rides.
View from Hermit Gulch trail
Hermit Gulch Trail

The Hermit Gulch Trail is a great 4 1/2 mile hike. The trail starts at the campground and ends with a walk through the Wrigley Botanical gardens. It's actually more than 4 1/2 miles because you have to walk to and from the campground. Makes a great day, and you're ready for happy hour at the The Sand Trap on the walk back down Avalon Canyon Road. $1 tacos and a cold beer after a hike, perfect.

2010 Photo Gallery

How far is it?* What and when in 2010?
12.5 hours from Harbor Island, San Diego to Avalon - 75.2 nautical miles
11.5 hours from Avalon to San Diego (Harbor Island) - 75.2 nm

*Distance shown is rhumb line, the actual distance is determined by your course

Approximate Rhumb Line Distances*
Harbor Island, San Diego to Avalon - approx 75.2 nautical miles (86.5 statute miles - 1 nautical mile=1.15077945 statue miles)
With an average speed of 6 knots that's a 12 1/2 hour trip

Around Point Loma Kelp
Latitude/Longitude locations approximate

If you don't want kelp wrapped around your prop you have to keep your eyes peeled and navigate around it. The most kelp-free way is to head southwest to San Diego Buoy #1 and turn northwest to Avalon Harbor, Catalina at that point.

San Diego Channel Buoy #5 (Lighted Bell Buoy) latitude/longitude
decimal: 32.650278 -117.218333
degrees: 3239.1' N 11713.6' W

San Diego Bay Approach Lighted Whistle Buoy #1
decimal: 32.6175 -117.235278
degrees: 3237.3' N 11714.7' W

Avalon Harbor
decimal: 33.347167 -118.323667
degrees: 3320.83' N 11819.42' W

Events and Activities

Catalina Island Chamber of Commerce

Sept 11 - Outrigger Championship - Catalina Channel Crossing launches from Newport Harbor and ends at Casino Point, Avalon
Sept 12 - Outrigger Championship - Kane and Masters Coed Race launches from Lovers Cove, Catalina Island and ends at Newport Dunes, Newport Beach
Sept 12 - Zane Grey Invitational Marlin Tournament - water too cold this year, the tournament was moved to San Diego