Santa Catalina Island

Oct 05, 2019 - National Geographic Sea Bird


After cruising the northern Channel Islands, we woke up this morning outside of Little Harbor on Santa Catalina. This small protected inlet is coupled with Shark Harbor, only separated by a small peninsula known by locals as the “Whale’s Tail.” This area carries some interesting history of the island. Being a protected sandy beach with low rolling hillsides, it was home to the earliest inhabitants of the island some 12,000 years ago. The Tongva, as they are known, created villages here and lived a subsistence lifestyle off the plethora of marine life and terrestrial plants. Remains of their pottery and middens, collections of shell and animal fragments, have been found throughout the island.

Currently, this beautiful location is used as a campground and popular getaway for island residents and mainland people to enjoy the beaches and seclusion of Santa Catalina. The Catalina Island Conservancy manages 88 percent of the island’s remote places and protects the few mammals like bison and Catalina fox that roam freely throughout the island.

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About the Author

Travis Patten

Naturalist

Travis Patten grew up in Minnesota on the shore of Lake Superior where he was brought up in a family culture of appreciation for all things water related. He learned an appreciation for nature from his grandfather and works to echo the lessons he was taught at a young age. Travis earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies from Western Colorado State University and began a career in experiential education. Working with ski patrol during the winters and as a rafting and climbing guide during the summers, Travis honed his outdoor experiences and safety protocols through a variety of mediums. Returning to Minnesota, Travis earned a master’s Certificate in Environmental Education from the University of Minnesota and moved to California where he worked as a marine science instructor on Catalina Island. Since falling in love with ocean life, Travis has worked on the Sea of Cortez as a sea kayak guide and marine biologist while living in Baja and has guided eco adventure tours in South East Alaska. Travis has studied and learned from close interactions with various indigenous cultures and feels understanding their history is an integral component of each voyage.

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