Byline: The Log Staff
CATALINA ISLAND — Catalina Expeditions has launched a brand-new tour giving island visitors a new perspective on Catalina’s diversity — both inland and on the water. Dubbed the Land and Sea Adventure tour, the half-day expedition takes guests from Avalon along Catalina’s rugged coast via a rigid-hull inflatable boat to Catalina Harbor.
After stopping for lunch at Two Harbors, tour participants return to Avalon via a scenic coastal route in a bio-fuel-powered convertible H1 Hummer.
“This tour gives visitors an opportunity to experience a side of Catalina Island most people never see,” said Scott Moyse, director of Sightseeing for Catalina Expeditions. “The tour covers two-thirds of the island’s entire coastline, with a nice stop at Two Harbors, which is really an unknown gem.
“Plus, how often do you have the chance to see both dolphins and buffalo in one trip?” Moyse asked.
Tours begin at 10 a.m. daily at Avalon’s Green Pleasure Pier. One group departs in the Hummer, and a second departs in a rigid-hull inflatable boat that can achieve a top speed of 39 knots.
As the boat slowly rounds the island’s West End, tour participants have a chance to see dolphin pods at play, sea lions lounging on rocks and, at certain times of year, blue whales or California gray whales swimming by.
Tour participants disembark at Catalina Harbor, a sheltered cove on the island’s windward side that is flanked by dramatic rock cliffs and lush green meadows. They can either walk across the Isthmus or take the Hummer to Two Harbors for a one-hour lunch break and free time to explore the beachside outpost.
Then, tour participants return to Avalon by land, along the Middle Ranch Road, stopping at scenic overlooks along the way. From the convertible H1 Hummer, tour participants may spot bison herds munching grass, see a Catalina Island fox scamper by or watch American eagles fly overhead.
Half of all tour participants will experience the tour in reverse, traveling first by land, and then by sea.
The once-daily five-and-a-half-hour tour costs $160 per person, including a choice of boxed lunches served at Two Harbors. Tours will continue to run daily through the end of October, and then will start again in April 2013.