Plan To See The Dolphins And Sea Lions On Catalina Island
Catalina Island was the first stop on our cruise down the California coast with Oceania Cruises. We booked a fast boat trip to see the playful dolphins and sea lions on Catalina Island.
It was a return visit to Catalina Island for us. David seemed to remember little of that first visit, other than the flying fish that landed in our boat on our tour to see Two Harbours. The ship anchored in the harbour off of Avalon. And very quickly, our first visit to Catalina Island came back to us.
We were happy when we booked a fast boat ride for our visit to Catalina Island. On our recent trip to Page, Arizona we loved the chance to rent a speed boat and race over the waters of Lake Powell. While we did not drive the boat on this excursion, we knew the Rigid Hulled Inflatable Boat (RHIB) gave us a fun and exciting ride.
Tendering To The Dock In Avalon
There were no large docks in Avalon, so all cruise ships anchored in the bay and guests were tendered into the dock in Avalon. As we approached the town, we saw the small boats in harbour around the large casino on the waterfront.
We landed and walked with our tour guide over to the main dock. The semi-submersible boats were all lined up for the tours around the bays by Avalon. The semi-submersible that actually looked like a submarine was far more interesting than the one that looked more like a barge.
Our guide gave us the waiver to sign while we waited while the RHIB pulled up. Everyone was bundled up for the ride out to sea.
We had a small group of about 12 people and we pretty much filled the front and back seats of the boat. Of course, we rode up front to not miss a sight. When the safety briefing was finished, we headed out to search for playful dolphins and sea lions on Catalina Island.
A Fast Trip Along The Shore
Once we cleared the harbour, the boat captain opened up the engine and we sped off. We moved along the sharp cliffs off the coast of Catalina Island. A large rock quarry was easily visible. As we moved out of the lee of the island, the still waters became much rougher.
As we approached our first stopping point, we clearly saw where the soft sand bottom dropped off. Above the sand bottom we saw emerald coloured water. On the rocks guarding the cove, we saw large flocks of sea birds and pelicans. They provided the first show for us.
We enjoyed our fast boat ride along the shore on our excursion to see the dolphins and sea lions on Catalina Island.
Sea Lions And Birds On The Shore
As we approached the shore, we saw and heard the massive colony of sea lions. Harems lazed in separate groups. Pups splashed in the water.
The sea lions were found in this spot regularly. The shallower and clear waters were filled with small fish. But the bigger sea predators could also be seen easily. The sheer cliffs behind the cove protected the sea lions from land predators.
While we were stopped, we saw an eagle as it danced in the air with a hawk. Eagle sightings at this spot were a bit more rare.
Our first stop guaranteed we saw wildlife on our search for dolphins and sea lions on Catalina Island. We saw sea lions as they frolicked in La Jolla, Monterey and San Francisco on our spring road trip along the California coast. But we always liked to watch the show.
Searching For Dolphin Pods
Our captain and his mate took up their binoculars as we headed out away from shore. There were large pods of dolphins in the waters around the island. But we just needed to find one. They scanned the horizon looking for the telltale splashing of a large pod.
Just as we thought they were ready to give up, the boat turned direction and raced off. In minutes we were surrounded by a large pod of playful dolphins. They jumped in the waves singly or in large groups. The dolphins did not seem to mind our presence and often came close to the boat.
We sat and watched the show the dolphins put on. It reminded us very much of the show the humpback whales put on when we went whale watching in Campbell River in British Columbia. To finish this exciting show, we saw a group of sea lions as they swam by porpoising as if they were dolphins too!
We got such an amazing show as we watched the playful dolphins and sea lions on Catalina Island.
A Fun Day With The Dolphins And Sea Lions On Catalina Island
Our tour was only booked for one hour. So before we knew it we headed back to Avalon Harbour. It was such a great outing to see dolphins and sea lions on Catalina Island. And a great way to start our cruise along the California Coast.
Our ship pulled up anchor about 6pm and headed south. The next stop on our cruise was a one day stop in Ensenada, Mexico. We had a very different day planned for Ensenada as we headed out into the Guadalupe Valley for wine tasting.
Did you see playful dolphins and sea lions on Catalina Island? Did they give you a great show?
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