Feb 8, 2009

Cruising, I get wet, wife doesn't, and Bison roam the streets.

I have been trying to post something regarding our little Vacation, but have been having trouble accomplishing this task. I think I have come to the conclusion that I am trying to cram too much information into a single post. So, I will be breaking it into pieces.

So, without further ado,

Cruising the 1 Sea (we never saw the other 6) - Part 1.

Leaving out of Eureka for Southern California is a breeze. Alaska Airlines has non-stop flights all the time from the Arcata Airport (which is really in McKinleyville, and really should be renamed in my humble opinion) to LAX. The only problem here is I hate flying. It scares the crap out of me. However, once, on a flight to this very same airport, my good friends discovered a simple way to help me overcome this fear, or at least help me forget about it for a while. For this I think them. Nancy, our stewardess, also recognized me as one who is fearful of flying. She accommodated my needs with expert precision. For this I thank her.

We landed, hailed a cab, and headed for San Pedro, to the Double Tree Hotel. Anyone who has stayed at a Doubletree should know about their warm and very tasty "Welcome Cookies." And indeed, they are warm and tasty.

The next morning, we drove across the Port of Los Angelas. For those who don't know, the POLA is the largest and busiest port in all of the United States. It is also the third largest in the world, bested only by Singapore and Hong Kong. So when I say it took us 20 minutes to drive across it, that was on a freeway. With no traffic. In a jam, it might take a couple of hours.

Once in Long beach we found Paradise waiting for us.
While not the largest vessel in the fleet, it was as large as ship either of us had been on before, so it was really large in our eyes. After being accosted my multiple Carnival employees and being forced to pose for cheesy photos, we made it into the Grand Atrium. A 6 storied atrium with glass elevators and piano bar. Wow! This really was paradise!! The staterooms were opened and we began our initial trek to our room. For anyone who has been on a cruise before, there is a lot of walking involved. This is the view from our room down the hallway that led directly to the bottom floor of the Atrium:Yeah, that's right: the hallway seems to never end. It was a long way from our end, the aft of the vessel, to the atrium, which was near the center. Yikes.

After getting settled we had some food, did a little exploration, and the had some more food. We walked some more, had some more food, and walked some more. We went to the Casino (games of chance are played here) after the ship was more than 3 miles off shore, then walked some more, then ate a little more, then walked some more.
Whew!! I need to go to bed.
I woke up early, the next morning and headed up to the top deck of the boat, and found the sun rising over the Pacific. I don't get to see this very often, and took the liberty of snapping a candid photo of the sun as he was just waking up.And it was so warm. The forecast for Tuesday: Warm. Sunny. No wind. Perfect.
Wife and I hit Catalina at separate times. She departed earlier than me, in order to catch an Eco Tour that wound its way into the mountains and saw American Buffalo, which are actually not buffalo at all. They are Bison. Bison Bison, to be scientifically correct.
The bison (not buffalo) were brought to the island a number of years ago to be props in a Zane Grey novel that was being made into a movie. Later, when editing the movies, the director cut all the scenes that included the bison. Then, after cutting the animals that were brought to island specifically for the movie they no longer starred in, the director claimed to be out of money and never shipped the animals back to wherever it was they came from. They are now permanent residents.Wow, they all look like little ants from up here!!

Later, wife went on a semi-submersible submarine. It was Yellow. I'm pretty sure no one lives on it, nor does it have it's own theme music.
It does, however, have Fish Torpedoes! That's right folks, you push the button and fire fish food like underwater projectiles to the waiting masses of what appear to be ravenously hungry fish.Submarines and Fish Torpedoes. Oh, good times.

I myself went for a different sort of adventure. That's right, SCUBA at the Casino Point Underwater Park. Thanks to the guys at Catalina Diver's Supply for hooking me up.So, armed with ghastly amounts of neoprene and some SCUBA gear, off to the point we went. I jumped in the water and immediately noticed I was not at home. Here, looking from the surface to the bottom, I could actually see it. Here was my initial view of the kelp forests.Holy smokes!! I am underwater and can see farther than the length of my hand. Crazy. Note the little fish that resembles a gold fish. That is our state fish, the Garibaldi Fish. Its a glorified gold fish. It looks something you could win at the fair after a lucky ping-pong ball toss. Only in California, I guess.Ahead is my dive buddy. He was from Canada, and was boasting earlier how he and his buddy and some girl got really drunk the night before. I only show him here in order to show a little scale, human compared to the giant kelp stalk, eh.
When the light comes through the water, like it is here, it is referred to as God Rays. I promise, this looked way cooler in person than it does here thanks to my P.O.S. camera. Some day, I'll have a cool camera. Some day.....
We spent the rest of the day doing a little shopping, and finding some food. Sadly, Steve's Steakhouse was closed until 5, and the last tender back to the Paradise was at 4:30. So we ate at Armstrong's. Pretty good food. I had fried scallops and oysters. Wife had fish and chips. All in all, it was a beautiful day in Catalina. Later, we went back to the boat. We walked around for a little while, ate some more, then walked around some more. I can't be certain, as it was already last week, but I think we might have eaten some more somewhere in there.

In our next installment, we stop in Ensenada, Mexico. We tour some wineries, we eat some nachos, spend a ridiculous amount of money in a single shop, and I get into an argument with a 6 year old Hispanic girl trying to peddle Chiclets.
Stay tuned.


  1. I am so glad you could get past the fear to spread your wings and enjoy Catalina and the cruise. I have heard of the kelp beds but your pictures are wonderful. Can't wait to see the rest!

  2. Excellent blog! Thanks for including the info on why there are Bison on the island -- I was wondering that. Interesting story. I'm ready to book our cruise right NOW!


  3. Is your trick for conquering the plane phobia "word of wisdom" friendly? If so, fill me in!


You went to all the trouble to get yourself here, you might as well say something about it.

Related Posts with Thumbnails