Catalina Island
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November 24, 2017 - 9:51pm

Articles by Jim Watson

“I Brake for Whales.”

In an agreement that might spawn the biggest bumper stickers in history, six international shipping companies have agreed to slow their huge container vessels down in the waters surrounding the Channel Islands to minimize collisions with whales.

The agreement, which was made last Monday, will not only protect whales but will have the added benefit of reducing fuel consumption as well as air pollution.

Before we begin this week’s column, a quick note about my book and the

current Ebola crisis in West Africa:  During the entire month of August,

ALL proceeds from my book “Mysterious Island: Catalina” sold on Amazon or

Visitors to the corner of Crescent and Sumner avenues got a first-hand look at a bit of high technology that has the potential to help alleviate Catalina’s pressing water needs.

PureSafe Water Systems, an environmental engineering company based in Plainview, NY, gave demonstrations of their mobile water purification and desalination “First Response Unit” last Friday and Saturday.

Using a variety of different water purification processes, the units can produce up to 30,000 gallons of fresh water per day from fresh water sources.

Editor’s Note:  Jim Watson is the author of “Mysterious Island: Catalina,” available at Amazon, Kindle and in stores in Avalon.

Before we get to the meat and potatoes of this week’s column, I’d like to personally extend an invitation to you, Dear Reader, to attend a short lecture I will be giving next month at the Western Museum of Flight in Torrance.

Three days of relentless surge over the Fourth of July weekend kept boaters bobbing and wreaked havoc on a number of watercraft and marine fixtures around the Island.  The swells and surge were the legacy of hurricane Cristina that passed off the coast of Mexico late last month.

“At one point it could just look like normal and then 10 minutes later there could be a huge swell come through,” said Avalon Harbor Master Brian Bray.

Editor’s Note:  Jim Watson is the author of “Mysterious Island: Catalina,” available at Amazon, Kindle and in stores in Avalon.

A few weeks ago I did a story on a handful or so of missing persons stories that have graced the headlines of southland papers over the years.

Some of those stories had happy endings. Some, in fact, have really no ending yet at all because the person in question has never been found.

But as you might have guessed, others stories had bad endings.  Bad, bad endings.

Just below the Casino’s mezzanine level, tucked away behind an otherwise unremarkable door within the zig-zagging confines of the building’s East Wing, lies an integral but largely unknown part of the theater’s operations.  

Only in recent years with the advent of a new “Behind the Scenes” tour offered by the Santa Catalina Island Company have visitors been able to visit the Projection Room operations.

EDITOR’S NOTE:  Jim Watson is the author of “Mysterious Island: Catalina,” available at Amazon, Kindle and in stores in Avalon.

Charles E. Pyle was a 1st Engineer in the United States Merchant Marine.

Hailing from Lodi, California, he had received training and had become an instructor in his own right at the U.S. Maritime Service Training Station in Avalon right here on Catalina Island.

The words “California” and “gold” are virtually synonymous around the world.  The late Huell Howser, in fact, put those two words together to create one of the most popular regional television shows in history.

It’s been a long time since we did a good old-fashioned Avalon ghost story in this column.  To be honest, I had been waiting through the winter for a suitably drab and dreary stretch of weather to “raise the dead” again.  But, alas, such weather proved to be elusive.  I suppose the June Gloom will have to suffice.