This morning, in the first week of December, we all put on shorts and sandals and headed to shore for a beach party at Little Harbor! Embracing the outdoorsy spirit of southern California, guests kayaked and paddleboarded around the harbor, hiked up to a scenic bluff and down to a beach to look for wildlife and interesting geology, or just relaxed in some beach chairs with their toes in the sand. As a surprise to some that were lucky enough to spot a few, the island has a herd of roughly 200 American bison. These animals are not native to the island; 14 were transferred to island for the filming of The Vanishing American in 1924 and left behind to live out their lives.
The majority of the island is now owned by the Catalina Island Conservancy, who keep this herd to a small section of land to protect the rest of the area for native flora and fauna. In the afternoon, the National Geographic Venture sailed around the southern end of the island to anchor outside of Avalon – a sleepy seaside town of about 3,000 people. Guests explored the various museums in the town and enjoyed the atmosphere of this town that feels almost frozen in time before returning to the ship for the last cocktails and dinner of the expedition.