san diego to avalon

overnight in oceanside on the way to avalon

10 Days in August 2011

How far is it? long does it take?

Never again in August we used to say about a boat vacation in Catalina. This year the Los Angeles school districts are starting earlier than ever, that means less boating families the middle of August, and with lots of things on our September calendar it's either August or nothing for a boat camping trip.
First - no avoidable mechanical problems! The week before leaving I was checking the exhaust riser and replacing hoses.

san diego to oceanside
Motoring out of the harbor at 7:45 a.m. and we didn't turn the engine off until we got into the slip at Jolly Roger #4 at 4:30 p.m. What can you say about a no-sail day? At least the visibility was good.

the ocean on the way from Oceanside to Avalon
Flat ocean all the way from Oceanside to Avalon

oceanside to avalon
Eager to get to Avalon and secure a mooring "inside" we left Oceanside at 7:00 a.m. with grey overcast skies and a flat flat flat ocean. 5 whales, several dolphin pods, and aircraft carrier #8 performing amphibious maneuvers were the only thing breaking up the dull day of motoring.

W14 in Descanso
W14 in Descanso
Even though we were in Avalon at 3:00 on a Monday - surprise! no moorings available in the harbor. We were out on W14 in Descanso for a night, it's a pretty view there and the swells weren't too bad - just an occasional big THUMP from the dinghy slamming into the boat during the night.

The Avalon Shuffle
The longer you stay in Avalon the more seniority you have - more seniority means less likely to get kicked out of the harbor to a mooring out in Descanso. You can pay in advance for the week-nights you want to stay, nevertheless each morning you may be told to move to a different mooring. Why? The owner of the mooring may be coming in, and if so you've got to vacate the mooring by 9:00 a.m. and pick up another the Harbor Patrol has assigned you. Boats are dropping moorings and picking up others between 8 and 9, doing the entertaining Avalon Shuffle.

We moved inside to mooring 102 "Hot Reels", a great spot for the next 3 nights.

Reality Check on Hot Reels
Hanging out on mooring 102
the avalon shuffle - out to descanso and then back inside
Even though we'd been in Avalon for 4 days we were moved out to a mooring in Descanso on the Friday Avalon Shuffle. I'm told that some people prefer Descanso, especially the single guys - you can swim into the busy beach bar to visit the landlocked lovelies from your boat. Hint: having a boat in Avalon is a big appeal!

This turned out to be a very temporary mooring, by 12:30 we got the call to some back inside if we wanted. Back inside to 62 "Five X", just across from the dinghy dock next to the yacht club.

Norma Jean
Before she was Marilyn
Marilyn Monroe in Catalina
Did you know Norma Jean lived in Avalon for about a year? The Catalina Island Museum has a new exhibit titled Before She Was Marilyn, a fascinating look at her sad childhood and how she came to live in Avalon as the teenage bride of James Dougherty. The exhibition ends October 31 - don't miss it!

Lover's Cove and Avalon Harbor
Lover's cove and Avalon Harbor
what to do in avalon for 8 days?
Even though we've been here many times it never gets old...
  • Movies in the beautiful Casino theater
  • Walking everywhere
  • Start and finish some books
  • dinghy tours
  • happy hours and restaurants
  • stargazing
  • watch the people on the beach who are watching the people on the boats

another no-sail day back to San Diego
Helpful pushes from 2 foot swells and the current and we were back in San Diego harbor at 5:00, 10 1/2 hours of tedious motoring. Several times during the day we were able to carry the jib for a little extra pull, but not enough wind to make turning off the diesel worthwhile.

Fill up the fuel tank, empty the head and back in the slip at 6.

2011 Photo Gallery

How far is it? How long did it take?
8.75 hours from San Diego to Oceanside - 41.7 nautical miles
8.00 hours from Oceanside to Avalon - 47.2 nm
11.5 hours from Avalon to San Diego (Harbor Island) - 75.2 nm

*Distance shown is rhumb line, the actual distance varies depending on your course