Catalina Island Camping | The Rugged Male
The birthdays of the hardy male should always be celebrated. Hell, everyone's birthday must be celebrated! You have physically taken a trip around the sun, an awe-inspiring achievement that deserves to be recognized even if you bring it on your own. If you have the time to plan your birthday, it should be a time […]

The birthdays of the hardy male should always be celebrated. Hell, everyone's birthday must be celebrated! You have physically taken a trip around the sun, an awe-inspiring achievement that deserves to be recognized even if you bring it on your own.

If you have the time to plan your birthday, it should be a time to reflect and unusual celebration, in other words - special. This is exactly what I did last month. I was happy enough given the Covid restrictions, the Covid concerns, the California wildfires, the BLM protests, and the five civil wars America is currently waging.

The plan: Captain of the Catalina Channel with my friends to camp, fish and mess around on Santa Catalina Island

It sounds simple enough, but there have been concerns the whole week before. Maybe it was because my boat was only 30 feet long, relatively small for the 24 mile rental. Perhaps this was partly due to the fact that my marine engineer had told me not to leave the port two days before departure. We may not have GPS or radar and the fog was great that week. Oh I got it, it must be that the starboard starter is missing teeth and needs a rebuild. Nahhhh.

I was nervous for Mother Nature, like all captains. The weather can change in 30 minutes in this canal and suddenly your peaceful crossing has become the Adventure of Poseidon. The only other time I was captain of this chain I experienced just that, in a 25 foot center console.

If you don't know Santa Catalina Island, we should start with the name. Everyone, and I mean everyone just calls her Catalina. It was a place for the Hollywood elite back then ... well, before at the time". As early as 1911, Catalina Island served as the location for more than 200 films. Throughout this history, Catalina Island has been transformed into the coast of North Africa, Tahiti, the US border and many more. Catalina holds a unique place in the history of film production as the exotic back of Hollywood.

Another interesting and lasting impression of Catalina is the sighting of buffalo roaming the island. Tatonka were brought to Catalina Island for the production of The Endangered American, the film version of Zane Grey's classic novel. The North American bison herd has roamed the Catalina Hills since December 1924.

OK, enough history ...

We walked out of the port of San Pedro to the crack of 11h. When traveling with musicians, don't expect an early departure. Our skies were hard to read as we had a lot of California wildfire smoke and coastal fog lingering over the past week. We passed the Angels Gate Lighthouse and shortly thereafter the visibility improved until we had a full blue bird. The fog was successfully removed as a threat to our journey.

As the lighthouse began to fade in the distance, we put our compass on and headed out for the blue sky and ocean. Shortly after, we took escorts right next to our stern. A large school of dolphins seemed to share our goals for the day. It was a good time to break our first beers. Why not, Mother Nature had just joined the party. Cheers!

We kept the throttle at around 18 knots and enjoyed the ride. After about an hour, we could see Catalina on the horizon. Shortly after, we arrived at Two Harbors. It is a beautiful part of the island that does not have a city, rather an outpost or a military base. It's called Two Harbors because the island is really skinny at this point. It is an isthmus between the two ports on both sides of the island. You can walk to the other side of the island in 15 minutes.

There are no docks or slides in Two Harbors, so your mooring skills need to be sharp. We hit channel 9 on the VHF radio to inform the harbor master that we need an anchor near the campground. Then we knocked moored to the main dock to unload gear and look around. I was the only person to have been there before and it wasn't for a very long time.

They have what is called a 'gear transport' where they will drive your camping gear to your campsite for a small fee. There is a sizable hill to get to the campsites from the city, but it's not bad if you shed some light. We had a lot of gear and guitars so we took advantage of the service. I also added firewood to our transportation. Our buddy Dan walked the track with the guitars.


Two ports, Catalina

Our moorings and campsites are at the end of these rows of boats. We didn't have a dinghy and were planning on using a paddleboard to move gear to shore. This turned out to be difficult as there were more waves than expected in this cove. The rocky beach and the steep hill also made it difficult. Climbing up a steep dirt hill in wet flip flops wasn't fun, but it was really beautiful. The water around Catalina is crystal clear, making it a popular destination among the diving community.

We finally brought everything to our camp. The campsites are great, well equipped with a picnic table and a fireplace with a cooking grid. Ours also had a structure on the table for some shade. They're pretty close to each other which I imagine could be annoying, but we were in a shoulder season and midweek so it wasn't bad. I also feel that everyone at Two Harbors is respectful. It is much more a place for nature enthusiasts than a tourist destination like Avalon - the proverbial “the other side of the island”. Except they're on the same side.

Two Harbors reminds me of K-58, a surf spot in Baja. There was just a campsite there for years. More and more surfers kept coming and eventually restaurants and small hotels started to appear. The evolution of Two Harbors is not much different. The city looks like a military base. The general store added a restaurant, bar, and beach club, but everything is still very sweet. Our campsite has a 10 pm noise ordinance.

We set up our camp, poured in some tequilas and enjoyed the view. The fuel dock told me it was the first time they could see the mainland all week because of the forest fires. It was getting dark and we were hungry, having been up since 6am with little more than pistachios and a few beers. The boys packed sirloin steaks which complimented our camp decor very well. Dan and I went for a man cave style and ate our steaks with our hands. No need for silverware.


After dinner we played music until 10pm, receiving applause from our fellow campers. I hadn't been camping for many years and this moment seemed very silly to me not to do it more often.

The last part of the tour wasn't fully done yet, that's the way I like to travel. Plan about 60% of the trip and pilot it the rest of the time. It allows for a spontaneity that many of us don't have in our lives and badly need it.

The plan was for me to sleep on the boat while the boys spent the night in their tents. It was a good plan, except once again, no dinghy.

Every night around midnight I would walk alone on a steep, black path to the rocky edge of the water. There I would toss Adam's paddleboard with my clothes in a trash bag tied around my neck. It wasn't bad but there was a lot of room for improvement. I was quite humid once I got to the boat but it was great, I had a warm bed and abundant moonlight. There was a lot more swaying waves than expected. Being moored at an anchorage is quite different from being tied to a dock. Nothing that Advil PM cannot solve.

The next morning I hear: "Hello CuttyHunk, this is the Harbormaster". I got upstairs and said "Hello, you have to bring me some coffee". She smiled and asked me to come to town when I had a chance to pay for my mooring. I nodded and she left in her skiff.

Our trip to Catalina is over, but our island adventure has only just begun - I thought as I took a dip in the ocean. The rest of the story is up to you. Here are some pictures of the rest of our trip.

Thanks for the reading!

You might also like

Sometimes it can feel like maintaining a saine lifestyle is an overwhelming challenge that doesn’t fit within the realities of daily life. It’s tough to hold down a full-time job, eat well, train for a marathon, make homemade green juice, spend quality time with your family/partner, and meditate for an hour each day.

Coffee’s great too, but it’s best to start your day by re-hydrating with a full glass of water. Hydrating first thing in the morning helps to aid absorption, enhance skin health and boost energy.

Taking the stairs instead of the elevator is a simple way to get a little more physical activity in your daily life. It also strengthens and tones your legs and core while you’re at it !

A simple hack for healthy eating ( and portion control ) is to make half your plate veggies at each meal. The veggies pack in essential vitamins, minerals and other phytonutrients important for health and longevity. And, because they’re rich in fiber, they help to aid assimilation ( aka keep you regular ! ) and keep you feeling full longer.

Using a sport tracker ( like the Fitbit, Apple Watch or similar ) to track your steps is an easy way to make sure you’re getting enough physical activity each day. We aim for 10, 000 steps daily, which has significant physical and mental health benefits. The Fitbit will also remind you to get 250 steps each hour ( another important measure of health

Conventional household cleaning products are full of harmful chemical ingredients that are not good for our health ( or the health of our kids or pets ! ). Switching to healthier alternatives is a simple way to reduce your exposure to environmental toxins in your home. See our Healthy Cleaning Guide for a complete list of recommendations, and what to look for when choosing safer household cleaning products.

Similar to cleaning products, conventional skincare and personal care products are formulated with toxic ingredients we should not regularly let absorb into our body’s largest organ. Reduce the toxic burden on your body by switching to non-toxic personal care and beauty products ( see our specific recommendations on deodorant, sunscreen, and green beauty products ).

Maintaining a saine gut has significant impacts on absorption, skin health, immunity, mental health and more. Taking a daily probiotic with a glass of water each morning is one of the simplest things you can do to boost your gut health ( which, in turn, boosts overall health in many ways too ). Learn more about the health benefits of probiotics ( and all the ways to get them in your diet ), and shop our favorite probiotic supplement here.

Aim to eat real food that’s made of whole food ingredients you would have in your own kitchen pantry, or that your grandmother would recognize. ( Yup, this rules out most packaged food, sorry ! ) This is a little different than suggesting you eat only “health foods” ( many of which are increasingly processed ! ). “Real food” includes unprocessed foods like an apple, a cucumber, soybeans or a steak, as well as foods loosely processed from one ( or few ) real-food ingredients, like butter, olive oil, yogurt, tofu, etc. In other words, aim for foods that could be reasonably made in your own kitchen and avoid foods that can only be made in a lab.

Reduce the harmful effects of sitting ( like at your desk emploi ) by standing up and moving around for a minute or two every half hour.

Vitamin D is one of the most important nutrients for overall health, and sunlight is one of our best sources of it. Aim to get at least 30 minutes of sunlight each day—preferably in the afternoon, and without sunscreen ( read more about that here ). Not much sunlight in the winter where you real ? It might be worth supplementing with a vitamin D supplement and/or other food sources of this essential nutrient.

Houseplants help to cleanse your indoor air ( sadly, it probably needs it ! ), they’re pretty, and research even shows they improve mood, creativity and problem solving !

Aim to sweat in some way each day—whether that’s course, biking, dancing, hot yoga, or any other physical activity you enjoy. See our Fitness Guide for more workout ideas, as well as tips and tricks for building regular physical activity into your daily life and a downloadable fitness planner you can use to outline your own custom fitness plan to stay on track.

Green smoothies as a snack or simple, on-the-go breakfast are an easy way to get your greens in each day. Check out our curated list of saine ( veggie-packed ! ) smoothie recipes for our favorite starter green smoothie recipe ideas.

“The only difference between a good day and a bad day is your attitude. ” It’s true—mindset is everything ! Cultivate a positive mindset by recognizing negative thought patterns and countering them with positive thoughts or affirmations. Here are more mindset resources for positive thinking.

Most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep each night. But in addition to quantity, quality of sleep matters too ! Follow our tips on getting quality sleep—things like keeping your bedroom cool at night, avoiding blue light after dark, and more.

{Start each day with fulfilling activities that set the tone for how you want to feel—whether that’s inspired, relaxed, productive, or something else.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *