30 May 2017
Each summer, in the waters around Catalina Island, the fish fly.
Well, at least one species of fish does.
Like bison, garibaldi and island foxes, flying fish have become one of Catalina Island’s iconic species. These 12-inch fish are a popular food source for many larger predators and have evolved a unique ability that allows them to escape their hunters. Flying fish burst from the sea and fly – technically glide – for hundreds of feet.
The flying fish have been using their unique skill to escape predators for millions of years. For about the last 100, Catalina Island visitors have been able to take a tour to see them. In 1924, William Wrigley, Jr. had the Blanche W purpose-built for tours to see these unique flyers. Thanks to the fact that bright lights tend to startle the fish, they can reliable be “encouraged” to fly in the evening. The Blanche was outfitted with massive spotlights and a Catalina vacation tradition was born. Over about 90 years, the Blanche brought thousands of people to see the Catalina flying fish each summer, creating memories for generations of families.
This summer, the Blanche W has been retired and Catalina Island visitors will have a new way to see these finned acrobats. The Cyclone, a high-speed vessel departs every evening through mid-September. The exciting new tour is available for those ages five and up.