Im not used to posting in this section of the DIS, but I wanted to share some photos from my recent solo day trip to Catalina Island on July 21st specifically, the main town of Avalon and this is the place to do it! I guess we could call this a photo report, as opposed to a regular trip report. In our Disneyland and Southern California forums, there are a lot of DISers who travel from other states or countries to visit Disneyland but who also want to see some other sights around town. On many occasions folks will spend at least a full week if not 2 full weeks in Southern California, and would like ideas for day trips outside of the Disneyland Resort. While there are many interesting things to do and see in SoCal (Knotts Berry Farm, Universal Studios, the Original Farmers Market & The Grove, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the La Brea Tar Pits, Hollywood Boulevard, the Santa Monica Pier, Venice Beach, the Aquarium of the Pacific, the Queen Mary, San Diego, etc., etc.), I have always thought Catalina Island was a great place to make a day trip. Its about a one-hour boat ride away (give or take 10 minutes), and you can depart from San Pedro or Long Beach on the Catalina Express, and Marina Del Rey or Newport Beach on the Catalina Flyer. I prefer the Long Beach location for the Express, as it has the most departures and arrivals, especially during the summer, which allows more flexibility and room to do more things. Just some quick background: Ive been to Catalina/Avalon many times in the past. I fell in love with it back in 1988, after looking at some of my grandmothers old photos of her Catalina trips in the 50s and 60s and deciding to round up some of my friends to go there for a day. In fact, Catalina is my other favorite place in SoCal aside from Disneyland Resort. I just love it. Theres a certain charm about it that lures me in. But, alas, I had not gone to beautiful Avalon for many years - until this month, when I took advantage of the Free Round Trip birthday boat ride with Catalina Express (which is being offered through at least April 2013, if not beyond that). It is approximately a $72 value, so its a great deal. This is the second year in a row that the free birthday boat trip is being offered. Ive been to Catalina with and without friends before sometimes I have had one friend with me; sometimes a big group of friends. Sometimes I have gone totally by myself. Ive stayed for a weekend. Ive stayed for extended holiday weekends. Ive stayed for a full 7-night/8-day week. Ive also done a few one-day trips. Ive had very busy trips where I was rushing from one tour to another to another, and Ive had very laid back trips in which I did not do much more than wander around and enjoy the beachy ambiance. As it had been so long since my last Catalina visit, I wanted to have a lot of wander around time to check out all the things that had changed or stayed the same. I also wanted to do one of my favorite things rent a golf cart, go up in the hills and visit the Wrigley Memorial and Botanical Garden. I succeeded in both wandering around and renting the golf cart, but I didn't have nearly as much time as I would have preferred. I am a bit of a picture-taking fanatic too. I take pictures of anything and everything. So I do hope you will join me on this photographic report of my one-day solo trip on Saturday, July 21, 2012. I have a lot of photos to share! I normally do a much more detailed, vaguely humorous written report to go along with all the photos, but I am currently working on my holiday 2011 Disneyland TR over in the Disneyland TR section (7 months late!), and thats where all of my detailed written efforts are going for the time being! Right now I just want to share some photos of Catalina to show people out there who may be interested in visiting and would like to see more of what Avalon looks like. Arriving at the Catalina Express terminal at the Downtown Landing in Long Beach, just after 5:00 A.M. (my boat was set to depart for Avalon at 6:15 A.M.), I attempt to wake up!! Inside the terminal, a bison one of Catalina Islands famous furry residents greets you A map of the Island (reflections from lights in the terminal made it impossible to get photos of this map with or without a flash!) I took my spot in the line building outside and waited to board my Catalina Express boat Thankfully, this Aquabus was not my boat! The sun was starting to rise And its time to board! I found a seat on one of the upper outside decks, by the railing, as I planned to scout for dolphins and other sea life. Dolphin sightings are an almost daily occurrence on the Catalina Express boats, and at times there may be so many of them leaping out of the water that the captain of the boat will actually slow down or stop to let the passengers take photos. On some of the Express boats, the backs of the chairs are facing the ocean so you essentially miss out on the action, if there is anything to see, or you have to turn your body all the way around to be able to see whats going on. On other Express boats the chairs are positioned a little differently, where the sides are adjacent to the railing of the boat, making it a little easier to look out at the ocean. And we are setting sail! Here are some views of Long Beach as we pass through the harbor As you can see, the water is very still and placid in this part of the harbor. It changes a bit when you get out on the open water.