Catalina Mooring Late Checkout Fee!!??

We have not been able to spend more than a handful of weekends at the island this summer so I am probably out of touch with the new reality, but... Last weekend at 1045AM, the harbor patrol came alongside to charge us $20 for "checking out late". I was told "checkout" was at 9AM and I had already been given a 2 hour grace period. Also if I wanted to stay until 1PM I could pay another $20 and it could be credited against another night's stay. WTF, like most sailors we like to sit until the westerly fills in to leave. It was the first I've heard of this; the cove (Emerald) was half empty. Maybe it was half empty because folks don't want to be shaken down for another $20? I've spent hundreds of weekends at Catalina through the years, usually departing for home between 2 and 4PM. Is this the latest revenue grab, like renting sand, BBQ pits, and palapas at Two Harbors? I now see the charge shown on the Island's website but jeeez. What's next!!??? $20 is not a fortune but the whole trend over there bums me out.
 

gptyk

Anarchist
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408
California
We have not been able to spend more than a handful of weekends at the island this summer so I am probably out of touch with the new reality, but... Last weekend at 1045AM, the harbor patrol came alongside to charge us $20 for "checking out late". I was told "checkout" was at 9AM and I had already been given a 2 hour grace period. Also if I wanted to stay until 1PM I could pay another $20 and it could be credited against another night's stay. WTF, like most sailors we like to sit until the westerly fills in to leave. It was the first I've heard of this; the cove (Emerald) was half empty. Maybe it was half empty because folks don't want to be shaken down for another $20? I've spent hundreds of weekends at Catalina through the years, usually departing for home between 2 and 4PM. Is this the latest revenue grab, like renting sand, BBQ pits, and palapas at Two Harbors? I now see the charge shown on the Island's website but jeeez. What's next!!??? $20 is not a fortune but the whole trend over there bums me out.

It's good to own an island. You can charge for whatever you want. Last week the palapas at the isthmus were going for $500 a pop. And folks were renting them. A chair on the beach for $50. I do not know why. But it's definitely the trend that The Island Company will take it's pound of flesh, and decide that it wants another pound and look around for a way to get it. The trend bums me out too.

Avalon (not Island Company) has always been that way. You'll get a visit from the patrol boat at 9am sharp. I've always been able to ask nice and stay awhile later. We normally leave the isthmus at 10 or so 'cause Dana is a long way so I don't know about what happens at 11. Never been hassled at the Isthmus unless the ball lessee is arriving that day.

But hey, I once stole a mooring at Whites one late arrival/early departure... So I'm $ ahead, right?
 
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socalrider

Super Anarchist
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San Diego CA
I think I stayed at White's for free for 3 nights this summer. Hailed harbor patrol several times & no response. So yeah, I figure I'm better than even. Most of the time I anchor there but nice to avoid the hassle every now and again.

The Two Harbors palapa racket is amazing. I ignore it.
 

CruiserJim

Anarchist
They've always had the official check out time that I recall, but they normally only enforced it on summer Saturdays, sometimes Fridays, or if the mooring owner had reserved the mooring. I never got chased off (or charged) for leaving the two harbors area moorings at 11-ish on a Sunday. But I guess they can, so now they do. Last time I was there was probably 2015, sold my boat in 2017.
 

gptyk

Anarchist
736
408
California
I think I stayed at White's for free for 3 nights this summer. Hailed harbor patrol several times & no response. So yeah, I figure I'm better than even. Most of the time I anchor there but nice to avoid the hassle every now and again.

The Two Harbors palapa racket is amazing. I ignore it.

Awesome.

IIRC the patrol for White's comes from Two Harbors, so radio shadow when you're there. I've observed them to show up once or twice a day, but I'm no expert. I'm guessing it's a bit of a long trip and they may blow it off it it's busy at the isthmus.

I anchored at Catalina often with my prev boat - put a Mantus on it that stuck like glue. New boat has a CQR clone that I wouldn't trust as a lunch anchor. Just haven't got to that line on the punchlist. That and SWMBO likes as close-in of a mooring as we fit in for swims to the beach.
 

gptyk

Anarchist
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408
California
Been a while since we've been there. After Labor day, how likely is it to get a mooring during the week at Avalon? Two Harbors?
Never had a problem in Avalon mid week. Tues-thurs. The Avalon city website shows live availability (http://www.cityofavalon.com). Beware of cruise ship days (Mon.Tues, subject to change) when Avalon is more than a tourist infested hell hole than usual.

Two harbors should be fine non weekends except the week leading up to Bucaneer Days, when I imagine it'll be packed. Two Harbors has better
anchoring opportunities IMHO.

Two harbors allows reserving a mooring for Friday on Thursday.

*I am not an expert. I try to get to the Island 10 times a year, usually much less....
 

socalrider

Super Anarchist
1,390
749
San Diego CA
Been a while since we've been there. After Labor day, how likely is it to get a mooring during the week at Avalon? Two Harbors?
I've not been after Labor Day, but through several summers I've never been turned down at Two Harbors on any day. Agree that Avalon Tues-Thurs has been fine, though last summer I couldn't get a mooring midweek a couple of times - I think it was unusually busy due to the Covid stuff. This summer midweek was fine.

Pro Tip: head around to Cat Harbor & drop an anchor out past the mooring field. So nice. Was there for a good bit of this past summer with the fam & a bunch of kids fishing, hiking, enjoying the bioluminescence, stars, pelicans & osprey. Little harbor can be really nice too.

I strongly suspect that other than the Buccaneer Days thing after Labor Day you'll be fine anywhere. Just watch out for Santa Anas and stay the hell off the water this weekend.
 

kent_island_sailor

Super Anarchist
27,268
5,175
Kent Island!
In Annapolis you are off at 1100 or you'll pay for another day if they catch you. If you are there in the morning when they show up, they will give a good effort trying to get you to pay for the day before and accuse you of arriving before midnight.
 

Diarmuid

Super Anarchist
3,574
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Laramie, WY, USA
I've not been after Labor Day, but through several summers I've never been turned down at Two Harbors on any day. Agree that Avalon Tues-Thurs has been fine, though last summer I couldn't get a mooring midweek a couple of times - I think it was unusually busy due to the Covid stuff. This summer midweek was fine.

Pro Tip: head around to Cat Harbor & drop an anchor out past the mooring field. So nice. Was there for a good bit of this past summer with the fam & a bunch of kids fishing, hiking, enjoying the bioluminescence, stars, pelicans & osprey. Little harbor can be really nice too.

I strongly suspect that other than the Buccaneer Days thing after Labor Day you'll be fine anywhere. Just watch out for Santa Anas and stay the hell off the water this weekend.
We really liked our stay at Cat Harbor. Our little 21 footer with swing keel could anchor right in near the beach, about fifty yards from where they sank the Bounty. :D

cat hotel.png


Little Harbor we found stressful. A rowdy SW swell came up in the afternoon and a 50 footer from SD was sort of an asshole about us anchoring inside of them, even with stern lines. I pointed out that if we did drag, we'd end up on the beach. They just wanted the whole place to themselves. Then an extended family of about fifty Mexicans staked out the beach and had a delightfully loud first-birthday party for one of their kiddies, which my gal and I found charming but probably the SD people didn't. They stayed below hatches with their generator & A/C running all day & night.

I sat anchor watch all night tho, because the holding in toward shore was really dodgy (deep bed of rounded pebbles) and that swell had us pitching pretty hard.

ETA: I found this plan of Cat Harbor's mooring field. That looks like a SHITLOAD more spaces than when we last visited, eight years ago. Plus a stringline.
1662671429928.png
 
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socalrider

Super Anarchist
1,390
749
San Diego CA
We really liked our stay at Cat Harbor. Our little 21 footer with swing keel could anchor right in near the beach, about fifty yards from where they sank the Bounty. :D

Little Harbor we found stressful. A rowdy SW swell came up in the afternoon and a 50 footer from SD was sort of an asshole about us anchoring inside of them, even with stern lines. I pointed out that if we did drag, we'd end up on the beach. They just wanted the whole place to themselves. Then an extended family of about fifty Mexicans staked out the beach and had a delightfully loud first-birthday party for one of their kiddies, which my gal and I found charming but probably the SD people didn't. They stayed below hatches with their generator & A/C running all day & night.

I sat anchor watch all night tho, because the holding in toward shore was really dodgy (deep bed of rounded pebbles) and that swell had us pitching pretty hard.
Nice! Yeah Little Harbor can turn on you if there's a swell from the S or SW; I bail out after a day at the surf beach there & head back to the placid calm of Cat Harbor when it doesn't look like it's settle down. Lots of space inside the mooring field for shallow draft boats - one of the few places in SoCal where a shallow draft is a significant benefit.

Apologies on behalf of all San Diegans for your experience. Lots of room in that anchorage (have been there with 6-8 boats) with everyone bow & stern. Almost always cool/cold there; surprised someone would run a generator there but seems I'm always surprised by these things. Hate generators; pulled mine out & sold it.
 

Diarmuid

Super Anarchist
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Laramie, WY, USA
Nice! Yeah Little Harbor can turn on you if there's a swell from the S or SW; I bail out after a day at the surf beach there & head back to the placid calm of Cat Harbor when it doesn't look like it's settle down. Lots of space inside the mooring field for shallow draft boats - one of the few places in SoCal where a shallow draft is a significant benefit.

Apologies on behalf of all San Diegans for your experience. Lots of room in that anchorage (have been there with 6-8 boats) with everyone bow & stern. Almost always cool/cold there; surprised someone would run a generator there but seems I'm always surprised by these things. Hate generators; pulled mine out & sold it.
It was a really hot couple of days, with not much breeze. Fairly high tides also, which meant the LH entrance reef was no help at all at breaking the surge, even with us tucked up under the west embankment (yellow boat).

lh plan.png


Couple of powerboats tried to join us; a small runabout/ski boat full of San Pedro kids who couldn't get their 8# mushroom anchor to set & kept washing onto the shore:unsure:, and a fairly large layer-cake cruiser, light blue/green, that showed up at dusk & tried to anchor nose-in at the junction of LH and Shark Harbor. They backed out and re-set their stern hook several times that evening, then around 1AM fired up the engines & some giant spotlights & left for calmer waters.

Our plan was to sail round the island next day & park in Avalon, but the SW swell, light winds, and me not having slept at all discouraged us from risking the Palisades, so we just went back round the West End and tied up to the Isthmus Cove stringline, where I slept for five hours.
 
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kinardly

Super Anarchist
Love both Cat and Little Harbors. Remember when the seaplane service used to circuit CH and land? Couldn't do that now, obviously. I didn't realize there were so many moorings there now. Last there two years ago and there couldn't have been more than twenty boats in the whole bay. As for LH, I can imagine a SW swell would be challenging but have never experienced it. What I have seen is boats that set their sterns too close to the beach and have to call the Coast Guard to pull them off when the tide ebbs. Both places seem to attract the friendliest people from MDR, Redondo and Long Beach who row over and invite you to drinks as soon as the stern pendant or anchor is secured. Not so much the San Diegans, of which I am one.
 

socalrider

Super Anarchist
1,390
749
San Diego CA
I don't think the # of moorings has changed. None in Little Harbor. Cat is almost deserted 98% of the time; last two years we've happened to be there on a Friday/Saturday night when the Del Rey Yacht Club has it's last party of the year, and things were comparatively raucous with lots of powerboats running generators. Then the next weekend there are 15 boats in the whole harbor - much nicer.

I'm also a San Diegan - never offered nor been offered drinks to my neighbors, but that's probably because our boat us usually swarming with kids and dogs.
 

PHM

Super Anarchist
1,053
54
During the 60's and early 70's Little Harbor was always packed, sometimes with a few unavoidably crossed anchor lines (for those not familiar with SoCal anchoring, it's always bow and stern anchor, so that's not *quite* as bad as it sounds...). When one boat was ready to leave, it was always interesting to untangle the boat leaving from those staying. I remember the crowd being mostly mellow and cooperative about things. Now it's less crowded (with the often-present surge described above and no mooring buoys, it's less popular than other coves), but unfortunately, one bad apple can ruin it for everyone else. The locals from Avalon definitely love the beach there, for good reason. Pic below shows how we often find Little Harbor on weekdays in June or early July, our favorite time to go.

1662780824400.jpeg
 

PHM

Super Anarchist
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The one good thing about a nice SW swell at Little Harbor is fun body surfing in Shark Cove next door...
 

Diarmuid

Super Anarchist
3,574
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Laramie, WY, USA
I'm sure any sensibilities the SDers possessed were offended when we rocked up in our $2000 San Juan 21 with trolling motor and Intex dinghy.😄 Probably had a low opinion of our life choices. It's like people who just finished leveling their half-million-dollar Class A motorhome and are setting up the Starlink when a '90s Econoline rattles into the next campsite with hand-painted graphics and a bumper sticker reading "It's 4:20 somewhere!"
 

PHM

Super Anarchist
1,053
54
Your SJ21 is a lot closer to the types of boats cruising Catalina during the '60s and early '70s. Lot's of Cal20s, Cal25s and similar. I remember looking at an Ericson 27 in the anchorage one day and thinking: "what luxury" (we had a 24' Columbia Challenger at the time).
 

kent_island_sailor

Super Anarchist
27,268
5,175
Kent Island!
Your SJ21 is a lot closer to the types of boats cruising Catalina during the '60s and early '70s. Lot's of Cal20s, Cal25s and similar. I remember looking at an Ericson 27 in the anchorage one day and thinking: "what luxury" (we had a 24' Columbia Challenger at the time).
Our first cruising boat was a Cal 20. I really think those that don't do it old-school and work your way up miss out on a lot.
 

gptyk

Anarchist
736
408
California
Last we were there (3 wks ago now? 2 wks? whatever, the week before labor day) there were a coupla Cat-22's and maybe a Cal20 on the string line and a Cat-25 on a mooring. Folks still sail over in little boats pretty often. (Not me, SWMBO wouldn't stand for anything less than 2 cabins and a separate shower, hence the cruising barge.) Heck, I've even seen Macgregor 26X's over there.

I first sailed to Catalina from King Harbor (as crew) something like 30 years ago. In one of these:
1662848320601.png


Columbia 5.5. Totally unsuitable for crossing to Catalina. Would sink instantly if swamped. Had a handheld VHF and a compass for nav. I was younger and dumber. Nowhere to sleep on the boat. But it was a ball.

(Pic stolen from Black Jack's post on a prior thread about the Columbia 5.5, this was not the exact boat taken.)
 

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