Well,so much for our camping vacation to Paradise cove;Catalina Island
We were very lucky that Paradise didn't turn into Hell!
We set off on our 2 hr trailer tow up the coast to launch from cabrillo beach (Los Angeles ) By the way , thanks Boatster;nice facilities
It was a calm day when we loaded all our camping gear and set off on the 25 mile cross chanel trip to catalina.
As I have delicate passengers (ie, a wife whose back has seen better days!) we kept it to a leisurely 18-20 knots and enjoyed the scenery. Passing the light at the end of the breakwater ,I set the Matrix GPS for the programmed cove and off we went.
All went fine and the XS ate up the trip without incident.On ariving we had our first taste of what was to come. Paradise had shrunk
What looked a fairly nice cove in the brochure, had been swamped by a landslide from the nearby cliffs.Dropping Kim ashore to check it out,she found you would need a tent the size of a beach towel, to be able to fit.
So picked her up and off up the coast to Two Harbours to check with the booking company. On pulling in we were greeted by another rib in the form of an adventure company;called Ocean rafting!(strange people these yanks!!)
Hailing the harbour master on VHF, we found them very laid back and accomodating and quickly hooked us up with the camping organisers.
So a few checks on the sites available and we were on our way to "Lava wall" a larger site right next door to "paradise".
In the gentle surf, we pulled right up onto the beach and quickly unloaded our gear. I anchored offshore and paddled in on a "toy" PVC SIB we had bought. The camp site went up quickly while the boys played on our new deserted beach.
Then things started to go a little wrong.
I noticed a large landslide had recently come down onto the beach and left a gaping scar on the cliff 50 feet above. So looking at the high tide mark,it left about 15ft between the base of the cliff and the ocean
As we have had 6 earthquakes in the past week here, I was little concerned another might follow and loosen up the rest of the cliff.
Anyway,thought i would take a nap ,only to be woken by the crashing of waves. No gentle lapping of the waves here but had increased substancialy in a short time. I looked out at the XS,which seemed to be rocking quite severly. So swam out and lengthened the scope on the gear and set a second anchor. even then the motion of the boat was taking water in over the transom.! the auto bilge pump was dealing with it, but still felt uncomfortable. So swam back to shore and watched for several minutes while the waves built and the tide rose.
No way was I going to feel comfortable enough to spend the night and the concern for my family started to kick in.
It didnt take long to realise this was not a good situation to be in.
I tried swimming out towing the little dingy to take our gear back to the boat, but soon realsied it was taking way too long.
Timing the wave sets in ,we saw there was a calmer set every few minutes.The best chance I could see was to get everything ready to throw into the boat;beach it at the calmest point and get the heck out of there.
We talked it over and concluded if anything looked bad,just get in and leave the gear behind.!
So I pulled the boat in and we threw all the gear in, which took a little longer than antcipated!! Just as we were about to get in , a larger wave came in over the transom and swamped the boat. The weight made it difficult to hold in the surf but Kim jumped in fully clothed and helped me drag the boat into deeper water so enabling it to float. The boys climbed aboard and we managed to get in before the next wave hit.
Thankfully the Suzuki sprang to life at the first turn and I put her into gear .Jamie dropped the trunk and we got up a little speed to empty the boat.
Out of danger and all soaking wet, we quickly grabbed our clothing(luckily in dry bags) and decided thats enough of paradise!!!
I set the GPS in the now approaching sunset and headed for the mainland.
The choppy conditions made for a slower return trip but we were so glad to see all the lights of Los Angeles docks getting larger by the moment. The GPS brought us right back to the harbour entrance and at last we were in the safety of the breakwater.
Well, we had hoped for adventure; but this was a little more than we expected!.
So many lessons learned:of these the most important,
Dont camp "heavy" on a boat;conditions and circumstances can change too quickly.
Dont believe all thats written in the holiday brochures.
Do have a boat and engine you have confidence in and trust!
and finaly do have a wife who pitches in when the going gets tough!!!