I cannot believe I’ve waited 33 years to return to Catalina Island! I think it’s been even longer for Joey. But when a Groupon showed up in my inbox for a 2-for-one ferry ride over, I thought, “hey, that could be something different for our anniversary!” Our 23rd wedding anniversary was Sunday, August 12th and we had hoped to go for an overnight on Saturday but as we attempted to book a hotel room, we found most places were only accepting 2 night stays. We decided we’d just go Sunday/Monday since we could book for Sunday only. We waited kind of long to book our room so we didn’t have too many options but we did find one simple little place called Hotel Atwater.
After quickly throwing some things in an overnight bag, and taking our “less-drowsy” Dramamine pills, we arrived in Balboa a bit after 8am. We tootled over to the Balboa Fun Zone and traded in our Groupon for our tickets. I could not believe there were so many people going to celebrate our anniversary with us in Catalina! I mean it was only a Sunday, but clearly this place must be hopping all summer long! We boarded the boat around 8:30am and quickly went to the top deck. We wanted to be sure we had plenty of fresh air should one of us feel a bit queasy. As it was, I had been feeling a little under the weather for the past couple of days so I already felt a little weak. Luckily we did fine, other than it being just a bit chilly on the ride over. We enjoyed a mimosa and arrived safe and sound on the island just before 10:30 ready to begin our relaxing couple of days.
Our hotel was only a short walk from the dock. Our room wouldn’t be ready for a while, but we were able to check our backpack and duffle in with them. We walked around checking things out, stopping on the pier so Joey could get a cold beer. The daiquiri machine wasn’t ready so I just sat and watched him drink his cold beer. Not the most fun moment of our trip for me, ha ha, but at least we found a shady table because it was starting to get hot!
We had lunch at a cute little Mexican place, “El Galleon”, feeling confident that they would at least have decent margaritas. They did! We ate some chips and bland salsa and then we each ordered the Baja fish tacos…3 tacos, rice & beans. Our food arrived and the first bite into my taco was BAD! Pretty much all their food was yucky and bland, but one of my tacos had rotten fish in it! I tried the other one and it seemed “okay”, though not too great so I only ate a couple of bites, just feeling really unsure. By this time Joey had eaten two of his tacos. He tasted my bad one and after that, neither one of us wanted to even taste the 3rd taco, just feeling totally unsure about the fish and not wanting to get sick. So naturally we both stopped eating and Joey complained to the waiter, essentially saying we didn’t want to pay for my plate because of the bad fish. In the end he took both plates off our bill. But then some other waiter, or maybe she was a manager, was sooo nasty to us! She came over to our table, started putting the salt and pepper back in their place, slamming things around, and then muttered under her breath “nice trick”. I honestly thought she must have been looking out the window and was commenting on a “nice truck” going by. But when I looked up at her across the room she was GLARING at me! I looked away for a minute, still thinking maybe that was just her ugly face, but as I looked again, sure enough, she was STILL glaring at me! So as we walked out, Joey approached her, exchanged a few words, letting her know that we didn’t appreciate her questioning our integrity because we have never not paid for a meal before! Honestly, if the food had been lack-luster, we would have still paid for it. But we won’t pay for rotten food! Sheesh!
We eventually went to check in our hotel. It was a tiny little room with absolutely no views but it was white…clean and tidy, and white. White walls, white crisp bedding, white lamps, white tile…all very white…with dark wood Thomasville furniture…yes, I checked ;). It actually felt very much like our little place in Sevilla…only smaller, much smaller. But it was cool, and it would do… we wouldn’t be here long, right? Well, we ended up lying down on the crisp cool white sheets and fell asleep. I think my body just needed a nap! Not sure if it was the “less-drowsy” Dramamine or that I just wasn’t feeling good. Oh well, we came here to rest, right?
We had planned to have a nice anniversary dinner, but after that yucky fish, and way too many chips and salsa, I just wasn’t very hungry. We decided to skip dinner and ended up getting a freshly made waffle cone instead. I had never had a waffle cone! Can you believe it? Actually, it was all way to sweet for me so I probably won’t do that again, lol. I love ice cream, but with the cone, and the caramel syrup, and the whipped cream…yuk. We just sat on a bench overlooking the marina eating our ice cream for a while. We looked like a retired old-couple actually, and we got a kick out of ourselves sitting there with our ice cream, hee hee.
We then booked a boat excursion to go see the flying fish later that night to which they said, “bring a jacket; it can get chilly out there at night”. Uh oh, I have no jacket. Leaving behind 100 plus temps in Corona, I hardly thought I’d need a jacket! So we shopped, and shopped, thinking I should pick up a cute little Catalina sweatshirt or something. I just couldn’t find anything I liked so we finally figured I’d just tough it out. I ended up wearing Joey’s jacket and he triple layered his shirts. We also brought a couple of towels from the hotel to use as blankets. Turns out it was fine, I was actually too warm in the lightweight jacket! But this little excursion was pretty fun! Lots of baby flying fish were hopping all over the place, and we did see a handful of larger ones flying over the water, a couple of them flying right toward us. Pretty cool, worth the $30 ticket.
The next morning we packed up, checked out, and dropped our luggage at the front desk again. We stopped for a Bloody Mary at a little restaurant along the water. It was a beautiful day, the weather was perfect! We watched paddle boarders, determining to give that a try when we get back home! Or maybe some kayaking! We talked about the world’s social issues, and some of our friends and family affected by them. It was a great way to spend a beautiful morning…if only we could do this every day :).
We eventually had our “anniversary lunch” at The Lobster Trap, a funky little place in town. The food was good, (fresh, not rotten!), the atmosphere was upbeat and our waitress was darling! Oh, and she suggested a raspberry lemon drop martini and it was awesome! Afterwards we rented a golf cart and took a drive around the island. I’m not sure I could live here, but I’d be willing to try!
Back in town, we hopped on a trolley and took a short ride over to DescansoBeach area. There was a nice beach bar with lots of tables and chairs, and even more people on the beach and in the water. We found a table in the shade, ordered a Pina Colada for me and a beer for Joey, and watched the people on the paddle board rentals. Mostly I was envying the people hanging out on their boats just beyond the swimming area! Before heading back to the trolley pick up area, we walked down to the water. The beach is very rocky so it’s tricky with bare feet! While waiting for the trolley to take us back to the center of town, we spotted a deer and her baby crossing the street! I walked up to her and she didn’t seem to be startled at all! She posed nicely for some pics too.
When our day on Catalina came to an end, and it was time to head for the ferry, Joey went to fetch our bags from the hotel while I went in search of some water. Uh oh, I found ice cream instead. I was hoping to share a peanut butter cup cone with Joey but he didn’t make it back in time. Darn, I had to eat it all before it melted ;).
After arriving back in Balboa we weren’t quite ready to end our weekend so we walked along the boardwalk and bike trail for a bit. It was nice and cool in Newport! Eventually we decided on a couple of quick sushi rolls before heading home. About the time we hit Anaheim, we noticed a distinct change in temperature! By the time we got off the freeway in Corona, it was just plain hot. We arrived at our home, nice and cold….because one of the kids left the A/C on all weekend….AND NO ONE WAS EVEN HOME! Ugghh!!