Santa Catalina Island
Also known as Santa Catalina, Catalina Island
Santa Catalina Island, often called Catalina Island, or just Catalina, is a rocky island off the coast of the U.S. state of California. The island is 22 miles (35 km) long and 8 miles (13 km) across at its greatest width. The island is located about 22 miles (35 km) south-southwest of Los Angeles, California. The highest point on the island is 2,097 feet (639 m) Mt. Orizaba.
About a million tourists visit the island every year; Catalina is serviced by ferries and the "Airport in the Sky." Ferries depart from Orange County in Newport Beach and Dana Point, while they depart from Los Angeles County in Long Beach, San Pedro, and Marina del Rey. The trip takes approximately an hour and costs approx $65 round trip. Helicopter service is also available from Long Beach or San Pedro.
Glass bottom boats tour the reefs and shipwrecks of the area, and scuba diving and snorkeling are popular in the clear water. Lover's Cove, to the east of town, and Descanso Beach, to the west of the Casino, are popular places to dive. The area is famous for the schools of flying fish and the bright orange Garibaldi which teem in local waters.
Known shipwrecks in the waters off the island include the Diosa del Mar, which was sunk July 30, 1990 near Ship Rock, and the famous Su-Jac (among others) just off Casino point. The yacht Valiant burned and sank a couple hundred yards out from Descanso Beach. It had about $75,000 worth of jewelry on board which has never been recovered.
The oldest shipwreck known on Santa Catalina Island is that of a Chinese smuggling ship off Ballast Point on the west side of the island.
Dives are by harbormaster's permit only.
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