Catalina Island: Peek Beneath the Boat

The iconic sail truly puts the ocean under your feet.

MYSTERY OF THE DEEP: Not to be too controversial, but we'll posit that pretty much anybody who has ever stepped on a boat and stayed on the vessel for longer than, oh, twenty minutes -- or do we mean twenty seconds? -- has pondered what might be out there, under the waves. Or, more specifically, and maybe just as commonly, what's under the boat they're on. Just water? A few plankton? A centuries-old wreck? A shiver of sharks? Most boats don't have holes in the bottom, that would allow us to see, and thank goodness for that, but there are a few exceptions in the seeing-through-the-lower-part-of-the-vessel department. The glass-bottom wonders of Catalina Island are probably one of the most famous ways to see what's under your boat. And with good reason: The boats and the 26-miles-away-from-LA outpost are old pals, as in decades-old pals. Surely you've seen "The Glassbottom Boat" from 1966? Doris Day? Yep, the boats are iconic. Iconic and running daily, from Avalon, so make a reservation and check out...

SEA FORESTS... of kelpy tall strands. The school of fishes. The sunbeamy water that goes slightly murky and slightly marvelous just below the surface. Nope, your entire boat bottom will not be glass -- you have to sit somewhere, right? -- but there will be windows facing downward near the seating areas. How often do windows face downward? Not too often, is the answer, though we think the Winchester Mystery House may have a couple. The 40-minute tour leaves thrice daily all year long. Cost? Fifteen bucks. Not too much dough to soak in a lot of kelpy marvels from a windowside vantage point.

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