A boat zips along through the water, trailing behind it an open parachute elevated to almost a quarter-mile in the air. This isn't a scene from a spy movie, but rather a scenic parasailing tour from California Parasail, whose lines can lift patrons up to 1,200 feet above the crystal blue waters of the Pacific Ocean. As parasailers relax into their harnesses and take in breathtaking panoramic views, they can also take comfort in knowing they're in safe hands––all captains hold a US Coast Guard license and all crew members adhere to the practices of the Water Sports Industry Association. They operate runs throughout Avalon and Catalina Island, as well as Balboa Island, Newport Beach, and Long Beach, allowing patrons to glimpse views of different coastal areas and befriend cumulus clouds with varying regional dialects.
Just off the coast of Southern California in the waters surrounding Catalina Island resides an underwater civilization as awe-inspiring as the city above. To see it, the experienced divers of Catalina Snorkel and Scuba outfit explorers of all skill levels to swim over the marine landscape, leading journeys into the protected Casino Point Underwater Dive Park and the kelp forest. In addition to guiding tours, Catalina Snorkel and Scuba also rents snorkeling equipment and leads classes that range from introductory dives to advanced, postcertification scuba training to become the next Aquaman.
The vessel, Shoreliner, is no stranger to the waters of the Pacific Ocean. Originally built in 1960s to speedily shuttle ferry passengers to and from Catalina Island, Greg Watson Sr.—a seasoned captain with 35 years of seafaring experience—purchased the vessel in 2013 and completely refurbished it to better provide a luxuriant experience for private parties as well as tour groups. The 65-foot, aluminum-hulled vessel slices through the water at a cruising speed of 14 knots, leaving the coastline behind while as many as 130 guests can enjoy the views from the indoor seating section, the upper-deck seating, or the bow or stern areas. For private parties, the Shoreliner features two flat-screen televisions and a DVD player in its main salon, as well as a fully stocked bar that can help keep spirits high throughout the cruise. The crew also offers educational cruises in the form of two-hour, whale-watching tours, which give invaluable insight into the local marine life while providing opportunities for passengers to actually see gray whales, blue whales, bottlenose dolphins, and even hitchhiking mermaids depending on the season.
"Barracuda" isn't just a classic rock song by seminal rock band Heart—it's also a fish often caught on fishing trips with 22nd Street Landing Sportfishing. The waters near 22nd Street Landing are brimming with a variety of fish including barracuda, rockfish, whitefish, yellowtail, calico bass, and halibut. Guests head out on expeditions aboard one of the company's many charter boats, reeling in an array of fish or relaxing on the deck and daydreaming about sushi dinners.
Catalina Adventure Tours’ aquatic guides unlock the secrets of island living during submarine and glass-bottom-boat tours or interior land excursions. Safely submersed below sea level aboard the military replica SS Nautilus, groups of up to 45 search the waters for rapidly growing ladder kelp, boisterous fish, and reflections they think are sea spirits, and those riding in glass-bottom boats start feeding frenzies among hungry schools gliding below. Alternatively, guests can spy bald eagles and buffalo during an Inside Adventure tour or gaze over cacti speckling the foreground of sweeping ocean views from the Wrigley Memorial & Botanical Gardens on the City Botanical Garden tour. Catalina Adventure Tours also runs evening missions with guides serving as curators of ocean nightlife and designated drivers for seahorse discotheques.
Since 2000, Tim and Tom Ryan, twin brothers and the founders of Atomic Boxing, have put their black belts to use and help patrons harness the health benefits of martial arts without the violent aspects of the sport. Fists and feet pop against personal punching bags as personal instructiors motivate students to burn fat and pump up endurance. To set the mood for muscle building and to bolster adrenaline, speakers fill the gym with driving beats or fighter pilots reading their to-do lists. Near the punching bags, free weights clatter at benches and machines target muscle groups. In addition to group sessions, instructors host one-on-one workouts.