The first day of our Channel Islands adventure began at Santa Catalina Island. We were awestruck by the beauty of this place before we even had breakfast, as we watched the full moon sink below the horizon just before the sun came up.

The morning’s anchorage was at Two Harbors, the second largest town on the island. Two Harbors lives up to its name, for on each side of the narrow isthmus there are sheltered mooring areas dotted with boats. Those among us who opted for a more strenuous hike were rewarded with panoramic views of both Cat Harbor and Isthmus Cove.

In addition to hikes, we also had the option of kayaking. It was a great day for it — the sun was shining, and the water was so clear that one could look over the side of the kayak and see the ocean floor.

We repositioned to Avalon during lunch, and we briefly saw common dolphins and two humpback whales pass by the windows while we ate. Going ashore once more, we spread out to enjoy a sun-soaked afternoon in beautiful Avalon, Catalina’s largest town. With plenty of sightseeing options ranging from museums to the iconic Catalina Island Casino, there was something for everyone. It was also a perfect day for an ice cream cone, so it was fitting that Scoops offered free ice cream to anyone from our ship who stopped by.

We all felt very fortunate to spend our first day out here in such perfect weather, and we look forward to what tomorrow brings!