Catalina Island

The article in Sea Kayaker Magazine (written by Duane Strosaker, who has posted here now and then) has me wanting to do a paddle-snorkel-camping trip there. I’m holding off on the “big trips” till I know my shoulder is 100% but it’s good enough to do a trip with shorter days, plus I’d have time to snorkel and hike. Looks like we could rent most of the gear and just fly out with clothing and paddles (I hate most rental paddles).

Anybody else here paddled along Catalina Island? Got advice beyond what was in this enticing article? The more I think about it, the more I like the idea of trying a SOT camping trip along the beaches and clear waters. After the paddling etc., reading and lounging…sounds good.

Channel Islands, additional options
There are other islands in the Channel Island chain which are equally as beautiful… if not more.

Catalina has the advantage that there are some facilities there. It is also in slightly more protected/sheltered waters.

The other islands are exposed to more weather and wind. These islands are actually part of a National Park. See

Transport to these islands is handled by Island Packers. Lot’s of info on their website at

Check out

– Last Updated: Jul-10-08 1:08 AM EST –

There are lots of folks that have paddled out, circumnavigated and camped. I'm up for a circumnavigation sometime this summer or fall if people want to get together for a trip. Have not done the circum thing yet. You supposedly can get a round trip ticket with kayak for $100. The crossing is loooong and boring.

I think Pam a.k.a SantaCruzMidwife has paddled there a lot. I have a friend here Chris, who has paddled out Solo several times on a SOT.

how long
How many miles would the circumnavigation be?

~50 stat Miles

Go after Labor Day
Less crowded. I have paddled to and from but not around. In the plans for the near future.

I Have
taken my power boat to Catalina several times. I would not want to paddle a kayak back from there. The way the winds normally blow it would be a very rough,wet and dangerous trip.

So then don’t
I have and lots of other folks have. Thanks for your concern.

To beat the wind
start ungodly early. For the crossings I’ve done, I was paddling before 5 AM. The circumnav is a great trip. Since you can’t camp at Ben Weston Beach or Silver Canyon any more, it makes for a longer stretch betweeen Little Harbor and Avalon (or the nearest campground thereto that you wish to stay at). As Duane noted in the article, the lee side is definitely easier paddling in any but quite calm weather & sea conditions.

As we discussed, I have a great big gap in the schedule starting from right now until late August…

They are pressing me at work, but…

Biggest worry is having to pee.
Or being run over by a Chinese freighter.

Less than 3 days after I read the SKM article about Catalina Island, our Sunday paper contained an article (not paddling-related) about the Channel Islands. I’d like to paddle there, too.

My preference is to go to Catalina for the first trip because it’s something I could do this year. Also, it’s not backcountry/wilderness camping and we could rent most of the gear–both of which simplify logistics in this age of problematic air travel (i.e. baggage restrictions).

If I like the Catalina trip, I’d plan on doing another trip in the Channel Islands using my own kayak and gear, which would mean quite a bit more planning, time, and “training.”

I’ll check out the SOT site
Have not been over there recently, and it’s a great site.

Your friend did the crossing on a SOT? (Well, that eliminates the peeing problem.) Did he do it on a typical wide SOT? Looks like we can rent a SOT that I like very much, the Scupper Pro complete with two hatches. It’s slower going than the SINKs I’ve owned but I’d be happy to paddle it again.

But I was planning to ferry to Catalina, not paddle out to it anyway. O&B might be biting off more than I can safely chew given that the longest crossing I’ve done was 6 miles, with good visibility.

the crossing
for those of you who do the crossing, do you start at san pedro? then, do you shoot for avalon or somewhere mid-island, like the airport?

Chris —
I think his screen name on the SOT website was CalimariChris … he posted some articles there on his jaunts. They are worth reading, he is a very funny guy. I don’t remember what boat he did it in the first time, second time was a Tarpon. Not a big accomplishment for an SOT, but alone, got my attention when I met him. He seems to have given up kayaking or moved away. He was in to motorcycles.

Check out Strosakers web site
For details in many trip reports…

I started in San Pedro and went
to the Isthmus and stayed at the boyscout camp near Two Harbors

I thought that’s what the sponge is for!
In all (or partial) seriousness, don’t you carry a pee bottle or bag for long paddles?

Channel Islands
The other islands are great, but you are correct… a little more remote.

You also have to plan camping visits to these islands carefully. Despite being a National Park, there are a TON of limitations on access… I’ll spare you all my rant on that issue.