It sits just about 26 miles from the Southern California coast, yet it took most of my life to visit this wonderful place. Some people have never been even though they have lived in So Cal all of their life, just like me.
I hope this story will inspire you to go visit!
The adventure to Catalina Island begins with the boat trip that ranges in length of time depending where you depart.
Boat trips are available from most of the harbors in Southern California all year round. We choose to leave from Dana Point Harbor for the hour and a half trip.
The newer and larger boats get you there a lot faster these days and most of the time it is smooth sailing. Smoother and shorter rides help to keep the sea sickness at a minimum or not at all. However, just to be sure we loaded up on Dramamine.
About 30 minutes out of port, we were treated to a visit from a pod of dolphins about 100 strong. A few were jumping the wakes of the boat so, the Captain slowed us down to watch them frolic for a few minutes.
On a typical cloudy morning in California we couldn’t see Catalina from the shore.
It was a thrill when we first spotted land as the sun starting peek out of the haze. On a clear day you can see Catalina from most coastal cities in Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego Counties.
Catalina Island, officially called Santa Catalina Island is a rocky island that spans 22 miles long and 8 miles wide with a population of about 4,000. The highest point on the island is 1,097 feet.
The main harbor where you disembark is called Avalon or Avalon Harbor and this the hub of Catalina with nearby restaurants,shops, hotels, etc.
White Water Rafting on the Kern River
We move away from the beach this time and travel inland to the very hot Bakersfield, California for white river rafting.
At 90 degrees in May, Bakersfield was a three hour drive for us from Oceanside, California.
White Water rafting is very popular in California as there are many rivers that offer tours at every level that suits your adventurous spirit. We wanted the lowest difficulty level as this was the first time for most of us. However, we did want some thrill too. We were told that this is the place for us.
See this link for other rivers and other levels of difficulty: http://www.aorafting.com.
BLAME IT ON US.
On our first day in Bakersfield we decided to go to the river and check out the conditions we would soon be facing. As we are standing on the bank of the river we are saying to ourselves, “this doesn’t look so bad”.
So going into the next day we are feeling pretty confident but apprehensive as we didn’t know really what to expect.
The air conditioned ‘Rivers End Rafting Center’ is a great place with a deli and store to hang out in as you are waiting for your tour.
Once called, we go down to the bus and pick out our life jackets. During the short drive to the river, we are instructed on what and what not to do in the boat or if we “heaven forbid” fall in.
We were assigned a guide and off we go. I had a Go Pro camera and our guide found a helmet especially made with an attachment. Perfect! However, that is where the trouble begins.
This is where the title to this story starts… blame it on us. Every adventure I have tried by myself and with others, we are very enthusiastic. We hoot, holler, scream, laugh, and show enthusiasm for everything we are experiencing. You can tell by hearing us on the video below, and you can hear the guide laughing that we are having a good time. We are clearly out for fun and it seems like the guides, drivers, pilots, etc. want to do a little more for us.
As I look back on other adventures I realize that we bring it on our selves. Once while parasailing, we paid for going up 600 feet and as we are taking off we are laughing and screaming with joy. The guides decide to take us to 800 feet because of the fun we seemed to be having. 800 feet high was very scary, I preferred 600 feet better.
Another time I took flying lessons for the day. The pilot shows me this narrow ravine and how much fun it is to fly in there. So I tell him to go ahead, take the controls. As we are free falling nose first into the ravine with my head slammed against the window and with the full G’s pushing me, I realized, that I brought this on myself.
The same was to be said about this whitewater rafting trip. We were clearly out to have fun and were very vocal and fun loving. Our guide, Cortez told me later he wanted to give me a great shot with my Go Pro on my helmet. What better shot than to have us flip over. I have to admit that would be a great video but then I realized, I don’t want to go into the water!
I also found out later that our staycations crew were terrified as we found, or should I say Cortez found every rock on that river in an attempt to flip us. All of us in the boat were over 50 year old woman and one was 68. What the heck? However, never underestimate the power of middle aged woman. We weren’t having none of that falling in the water crap.
In the video you can see my hand grabbing on to the seat in an attempt not to fall off. It was pure determination from all of us not to flip over.