Catalina Island’s coastline is a study in contrasts. The island’s 54 miles of coastline represent everything from gently sloping sand beaches to vivid cliffs that plunge precipitously into the sea.
One of the most dramatic stretches of Santa Catalina’s coastline is located at the island’s far northwestern tip. Christened, appropriately enough, Land’s End, this area is home to steep cliffs, rocky promontories and drifting kelp forests. This stark landscape rises from a sea churned by waves and currents and the high cliffs are frequently lashed by swirling winds.
This area is consistently one of the most difficult stretches for boaters and kayakers who set out to circumnavigate the island. The finger of land is nearly always awash in heavy surf and Pacific currents that signify the abrupt transition from the lee to the windward side of the island.
The high cliffs are the realm of one of Land’s End’s – and Catalina’s – most dramatic residents. Bald eagles have called this forbidding habitat home for decades. The West End aerie has been a nursery to dozens of eagle chicks, several of which have matured to claim their own territory in Catalina’s ever changing skies.