First time sailing in two months! Our train trip to Flagstaff, family visit to Felton, and bike ride back towards Los Angeles were a blast, but it’s sailing season, so it’s time to sail.

We had the boat in a small marina on Terminal Island, which was very affordable, but had no public transportation options – you literally cannot walk, bike, or bus off Terminal Island, so a car is mandatory to get to Los Angeles, Long Beach, etc. We are on the move again, with time to kill before hurricane season ends in Mexico, so it’s island time.

Trip Summary – 9/13/2022

Left dock on Terminal Island at 11:05, finished anchoring in Doctor’s Cove on Catalina Island at 17:55.

Getting off the dock was a relief, already becoming a hot day. Sail up within 5 minutes, before exiting the first breakwater. Leaving Terminal Island is odd, half shipping infrastructure, half federal prison. It feels strange to be passing the restriction of prison yards while being so free on the boat.

Gorgeous sail, plenty of wind, predicted maximum of 14 knots but we saw up to 17 knots. We flew full main and genoa until after noon, then added the staysail for an easy 4.5 knots speed over ground with 7 knots of wind.

Consistent tack into the LA basin, easy adjustment towards Catalina Island, and then a single tack until we approached Isthmus Cove. Charles was primarily at the helm, and I got to dip toes off the leeward side into 77*F water.

We planned to anchor at Little Fisherman, but it was full by the time we arrived (16:30 on a Tuesday), so we sailed west towards Emerald Bay. A friend gifted us a copy of Anchoring at Catalina: No Moorings? No Problem!, and it’s a gem – so we had a very easy time finding and analyzing each anchorage we passed, finally settling on the tiny but beautiful Doctor’s Cove.

The Anchorage

Doctor’s Cove, 33°28.3′ N     |     118°31.8′ W

We anchored bow & stern in about 22 feet of water, close to low tide. 100 feet of chain on the forward anchor, 65 feet (30 chain, 35 rode) on the aft anchor. We had a good hold. We scoped out to 120 as the tide came up.

There is a mooring ball labeled “private” in the cove for a seasonal barge. We anchored outside of it, but would probably have been a touch more comfortable inside of it. We arrived just in time for sunset, and to discover that we were adjacent to Camp Emerald Bay, which even from a distance seemed like an awesome spot. The kids did a night swim from the beach, around the little point between Doctor’s and Emerald Bay, and over to the pier, while another group went for a night hike – we could hear the counselors talking about stars, animals, bioluminescence, and getting out of your comfort zone in the water group, while we could see the flashlights moving up and down trails from the land group.

The stars were superb, although the constant Los Angeles light made it look like the sun was always about to rise. The bioluminescence twinkled on top of the water, a rare sight in my travels, and churned around both anchors whenever we surged.

Around 11 p.m., we were suddenly flooded with light – a much larger boat nearby, which turned out to be dropping off a channel swimmer! Very surprising and unbelievably bright, they came in very near to us, the swimmer and their little support kayak popped into the water, navigated to shore for an official start on land, and then headed off. We heard the motor boat telling them they would check in around 1:30 a.m., and then we went back to darkness.