Monthly Archive for May, 2009

Birthday Voyage from Two Harbors to Avalon

Catalina is a special place to us and we have wanted to make this kayak voyage for quite some time. What better time to do it than over my long birthday weekend The idea was to take a ferry to two harbors and kayak to Avalon in 4 days 3 nights fishing and enjoying the spectacular views the entire way. This trip would prove to be another great Beckerley adventure and show that safety doesn’t happen by accident.

The 1st day we boarded the Marina Del Ray Ferry arriving in Two Harbors at around 11:00am launching our kayaks just after noon.

On our way to two harbors

Loaded up and ready to launch

We would paddle from from Isthmus cove just past Rippers Cove to a small beach camp called Paradise, this is where we would spend our 1st two nights.

We concentrated our fishing to Rock Query,  Yellowtail point, and Rippers Cove all well know spots between isthmus and our camp site. Relatively it was a pretty slow day with yellowtail point producing the most. All and all only small calico were caught but there were only slight winds and it turned out to be a nice paddle while fishing the whole way to camp although I was surprised we didn’t get any nicer sized calico since  these areas have been productive for us in the past.

One of Shiloh’s fish

On our way we ran into a group of inexperienced kayakers who turned over, were exhausted and did not know where their camp was. Lucky for them they were close. We pulled out our 1st safety item, a map of catalina and guided them to their location. They rented their yaks, you would think they would require individuals to carry a map when renting a kayak to take out boat camping.

Our camp

The second day we fished a couple small points and kelp beds in front or our camp, rippers beach and a little south. Not much changed from the previous day, slow, small calico bass but beautiful weather and great beer  😀

Found some great pale ale in a can at BevMo from Colorado, it says pack it in pack it out. The can’s wouldn’t be the only thing we would be packing out this trip 

Oh yes and almost forgot we got to eat a couple sand bass tacos

At some point we decided to check out Lava Beach another boat in camp site which I would recommend over paradise reason being Lava has a table which is nice.

When Shiloh was exiting this beach a surge of wakes came and pushed her kayak and herself back into the shore before she entered back safely. We thought nothing of it at the time although I believe this would prove to change the itinerary of our entire trip.

Me contemplating by the fire how I can spend my entire life in the outdoors not getting caught up in the daily grind of life.  Birthdays sometimes make you think

Day 3: We would paddle from Paradise to Italian gardens close to long point and whites landing two spots I have never fished but heard were some of the best fishing grounds on this side of the island. Long point has a shelf that drops off producing a good spot for Yellowtail, WSB,  and Large Calico. Whites Landing had reports of a good Halibut bite all week. I was really looking forward to fishing these areas so we decided to wake up early and troll rapalas all the way to our new camp unload and then fish there all day.

On the way Shiloh reported to me that her kayak felt heavy, tipsy and had more water on the deck than usual. All a bad sign that the inside of the yak is filled up with water.  I paddled over and opened it up, I was correct there was water in the kayak. Safety item 2 used for the trip and for the 1st time ever was a hand held bilge pump. We worked together to clear the water out, without it it would have been difficult to clear the water especially with camping gear in there.

We got to camp unloaded, looked at the kayak and I could not find a hole. We decided to still go out fishing staying close to shore and close to our camp. This spot was a little more productive although the fish were still small.

A bonita I hooked which was cool because we got a picture of the cast too

Me trying to find where all the fish are hiding while Shiloh took a break from the sun

As we fished we did monitor Shiloh’s kayak and had to pump water out about every hour or so. It was in the evening when we decided to go out and fish a little more. We were out about a 1/2 hour no more than a couple hundred yards, safe swimming distance from our camp when Shiloh caught the last fish of the trip and after checking the kayak to see it full once again it was time to land and find the hole although it didn’t take long this time because when we were dragging the kayak onto shore I could see the water pouring out the back, there was the hole, at the very back of the boat.

The plan now was to camp the night, drink hot totties and enjoy the fire until our friend Jameson was gone, wake up and call in for an evacuation. Morning came and getting help couldn’t be more simple with the appropriate safety equipment. I hailed for harbor patrol on my VHF Radio (cell had no reception) channel 12 with no luck, turned to channel 16 and asked if anyone could hear me located on the frontside of Catalina.  Tow assist heard my call in Dana Point, asked the color of our kayaks, asked if I had a GPS which I did and gave him my exact location, told him the situation and that we were on shore safe. He relayed the info to Avalon harbor patrol who had a boat out to get us within 15 minutes, loaded our kayaks and gear and gave us a boat ride to Avalon dropping us off right at the ferry station. They shook my hand and  praised me for being so prepared for an emergency and me thanking them for their help.

We spent the day at Avalon taking the opportunity to ready our gear for the ferry ride, clean up in their public showers and enjoy the extra time we now had in Avalon.

The hole in the kayak

Fun in Avalon back safe

So we made it half way and will have to return soon to finish the trip with Shiloh on a new yak. We did not have a chance to fish the area I was most excited about so until then I will look forward to the day I fish long point and whites landing.