Scream arrived on Catalina after an unpleasant trip from Santa Barbara (city). To our joy, we entered the calm and shallow Emerald Bay. Utterly confused by the semi-private mooring system (more below) we anchored in the south entrance of the bay.
Emerald Bay has clear green water and a sandy bottom. We saw our anchor on the bottom for the first time ever! We sailed our dinghy and swam in our wet suits for the first time since leaving Canada. The weather continues to be warm and sunny.
We rocked all night in Emerald Bay, so we decided to move on to Isthmus Cove, the north/east side of Two Harbors. There we picked up a mooring. The two-harbors harbor-patrol administers all of the moorings on the northern end of Catalina. They stand by 24-hours on VHF channel 9, and assign you to a vacant mooring with some boat's name on it. Catalina uses two-point moorings to really cram in the boats. There are 250 moorings here in Isthmus Cove, in an area smaller than Tseheum Harbour between the Van Isle fuel dock and the SNSYC mud flats. Each mooring has a floating pole, with a line attached to it which leads to a heavy line which is attached to the mooring. You cleat this second line on deck and then take a third, light line which is attached to it, that in turn leads to a fourth, heavy line attached to a second weight/anchor. You cleat the fourth line to the stern and you are parallel parked! The bay is mostly empty in the off season, but I imagine you can walk from beam to beam across the bay in high season. Alternatively, you can anchor outside the moorings as the mooring was $33/night or $78/week.
Two harbors is very small. It as one restaurant/bar, a general store, and a fuel dock. Think of it as a half-population replica of Thetis Island in the tropics. We greatly enjoyed our stay.
After four nights we left Two Harbors for Avalon. Avalon has a full scale tourist trade. Even in off season hundreds of tourists walking the streets of this town. The harbor is somewhat cramped, again with 250 moorings at the same rate as Two Harbors. We touched our neighbour as we pulled in. We liked Two Harbors better, but Avalon it is still worth a stop.