My first of many trips to Two Harbors
Written by: Matthew
Ever since I moved to Catalina in the spring of 2015 I have wanted to see what Two Harbors had to offer. Before this summer the only options to get down there were either a $200 cab ride, the Wildlands Express bus for $59 each way, or the Catalina Express (San Pedro route). Finally, this year the Island Company started offering a fantastic option for fun little (affordable!) day trips. Via their new boat, the Cyclone, the cost is $49 dollars round trip for visitors to the island and $20 for locals… a price too good to pass up!
On a beautiful Wednesday morning I packed my ice chest full of beach snacks, a beach chair, beach umbrella, and other essential beach items and headed to the Pleasure Pier for the daily 10:30am departure. The new boat being used for this trip is called the Cyclone, and with its bright yellow color is a sight to be seen and the perfect way to get to Two Harbors. With ticket in hand, I stood in line with locals and visitors all eager to enjoy a day at the isthmus.
As we pulled away from the dock with Avalon behind us I snapped a selfie and prepared myself for what I thought was going to be a 45-min boat ride. Since the waters were calm without any big swells the trip only took what felt like 20-mins, but was actually about 35-mins. Along the way our guide pointed out all the different coves and camping sites.
We arrived a little after 11:00 and once we docked at Two Harbors you can immediately see why it’s a boaters and hikers paradise. Hiking trails can be seen going from the left and right as well as all the moorings lined with beautiful boats and friendly faces. Getting off the Cyclone, our captain told us that we would be leaving Two Harbors at 5pm so to be back by 4:45pm. That gave us five whole hours to hike, swim, or just chill at the Harbor Sands bar/restaurant if we wanted. I opted for a small hike to the other side of the isthmus to try to find a secluded stretch of beach to call my own.
Now, looking back I probably could have stopped and asked the Visitor Center about what the other side had to offer, but something about not knowing for sure made this adventure a little more interesting for me. On my walk to the other side of the isthmus you get to pass a really cool old school house which is still being used as a school today, a few houses and then right there in front of you is the other side of Catalina! Super cool to go from one side of the island to the other in mere minutes, something I have only seen in pictures before. I had the option of walking to the right on a path that lead to who knows where or to the left also to who knows where, haha. I choose to walk to the left and I am glad I did. After about 20-mins of walking I got to a little peak with a bench on it. I decided to drop my things at the bench and try to walk around to find my perfect beach location. Just below me was a nice stretch of beach with not a soul in sight. I carefully made my way down to the beach and set up shop. Going from busy Avalon beaches to having my own little “private” beach was like heaven on earth.
I stayed here for about 2 1/2 hours enjoying the sounds of the waves crashing onto the beach (something we don’t get to hear much of in Avalon) and just the solitude of being alone on a beach. I truly could have spent all day here, but I do love snorkeling and because of the waves and sandy beach it didn’t make for good snorkeling condition so I decided to pack up and head back to the main beach area where we had docked. Another 20 minute hike and I was back in the heart of Two Harbors but where to go next? I wanted to snorkel but still wanted to be kinda off to the side of everyone else so I set off in search of another hidden location and Two Harbors didn’t fail me. Just a short walk from the pier to the left tucked behind these big rocks sticking out of the beach was a little cave and small stretch of beach. I unpacked and for the next two hours I enjoyed the abundant sea life and ocean plant life Two Harbors has to offer. In this two hours I swam with big Sea Slugs, at least four little Sand Rays, and a few Señorita Wrasse’s… a fish I had not seen before. Of course there were tons of Garibaldi’s and several others types of small fish to be seen as well. I am now a lover of Two Harbors and can see why this has been voted one of the best snorkeling locations in all of California.
I didn’t want to leave, but with 20-mins to spare before the boat took off I walked over to the Harbor Sands Bar to enjoy the Catalina Classic drink “Buffalo Milk,” which was the perfect way to end my day. As we pulled away form the dock I couldn’t help but smile, as Two Harbors had lived up to the hype and I knew I would be back again…. soon!
To reserve YOUR spot on the daily Cyclone trips to Two Harbors Call 877.778.8322
Departs Avalon at 10:00am; Departs Two Harbors at 5:00pm