A fancy flight of lyrics specifies that Santa Catalina Island is “26 miles across the sea.” But mapmakers put the distance at 19.7 miles from the closest island point, Doctor's Cove (near Arrow Point), to the closest mainland locale, Point Fermin at San Pedro. Today boats and helicopters operating out of the Ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, Newport Beach, and Dana Point transport musing songwriters and everyone else to Catalina for the song's much-promised “romance, romance, romance, romance,” as well as fishing, sightseeing, and gainful employment. But the history of getting to and from the island's ports of Avalon and Two Harbors has been an epic across centuries of business and pleasure, involving a collective flotilla of side-wheelers, yachts, lumber schooners, steamships, water taxis, converted military vessels, crew boats, and today's fast and convenient jet boats.
128 pages, paperback
Catalina By Sea: A Transportation History
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