High Swells Cause Catalina Ferry To Return - KMSP-TV

High Swells Cause Catalina Ferry To Return

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 The Pebbly Beach boat yard east of Avalon Bay on Catalina Island suffered serious damage this morning because of the hurricane surge. According to Brian Bray, Avalon Bay harbor master, water pushed dozens of boats off their dry dock, damaging them. The ocean waves also pushed boulders onto the dock and debris onto the heliport there and water rushed into the Southern California Edison power station.

Photos in this story are by Erica Minuto.

Meantime, Avalon Bay continues to be pounded hard by the surge, forcing the Catalina Express boat company to suspend service between the mainland and the island Wednesday morning. According to Bray, the surge was so strong it was impossible for the company's bigger boats to mate up with two main docks in the bay. Catalina Express is testing a smaller boat this afternoon to see if it can maneuver one of the other docks.

The news came late for passengers on the 6:15am boat out of Long Beach. After a three-hour round trip ride, passengers on board the ferry returned to land, right where they started. Passenger Albert Briones told us he's "never seen a boat that big come out of the water completely on one of the swells. We came down and when we tried to dock it took them 15 to 20 minutes and just the railing it was twisting and turning they tried their best but it was just unsafe."  Another passenger, Katie Schindelheim, described the crossing this way: "The waves were really rough and choppy. It was like riding a rollercoaster." Arlene Martija says these were the biggest swells she's ever seen.

The ferry company cancelled the 8:30am boat and passengers on the 10 o'clock ferry had to wait and see if conditions improved. Catalina Express's Elaine Vaughn explained that the company held back the boats until it could determine if was safe to tie up and off-load onto the dock.
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