RMW: the blog

Roslyn's photography, art, cats, exploring, writing, life


My private island – part two

catalina island

As I mentioned in My private island – part one, we were experiencing May Gray when I embarked on my two-day birthday trip to Catalina Island. As I boarded the Catalina Express at 9:00am Monday morning, there was light rain.

I was hoping by the time we reached our destination the sun would be blazing away. No such luck. But although the weather was trying pretty hard to dampen my enthusiasm, I am happy to report it did not succeed!

The above photo was taken through the window about half way across. I didn’t feel like exposing myself to the elements that early in the morning. The photo says more than I can about the weather conditions.

catalina island

Walking along the beachfront Crescent Avenue visitors are immediately reminded about the severe drought on the island. A reservoir capacity of 1149 acre feet down to 183 acre feet. Maybe I should skip brushing my teeth? Of course the paradox is how can an island—by definition surrounded by water—be suffering from a lack of it? Something is definitely wrong with this picture.

catalina island

Catalina is famous for its tiles and don’t you just love this tile fountain on Crescent Avenue? This was the inspiration for my hand-painted tile “Catalina Cats.” You can see it here on my Hot Out of the Kiln blog.


Avalon Bay with the Carnival Imagination in port.

catalina island

As I was walking through town I came across this intriguing sign in a front yard. One can only imagine what this refers to!

catalina island

The colorful hibiscus certainly brightened up this dull day with a little sunshine of its own.

catalina island

On the walk out of town to the Wrigley Memorial these bougainvillea and palm trees stood out against the gray skies.

A long long time ago there was a bird aviary on Catalina. You can read about it here. Fortunately a lot of the original tile work remains.

The Wrigley Memorial & Botanic Garden is a 45-minute walk from town (up hill all the way). Once inside the gate it’s another ten minutes to the Memorial itself. But well worth the effort. Click on an image to start the slide show.

catalina island

With some limited exceptions, cars are not allowed on the island. Golf cart rentals are very popular and walking back from the Memorial I felt like I was on the freeway with a constant stream of golf carts buzzing by. I prefer to walk as I like to stop and look and take photos. Not to mention working off the fish and chips I ate for lunch!

catalina island

Catalina Island used to be full of cats. Probably because for decades the island was used as a dumping ground for unwanted feline pets. On this trip this was only cat I saw… and I doubt he was feral.

catalina island

My first day was winding down. With all the walking I did I was ready for the comfort of my hotel room.

catalina island

So while others were still enjoying the many activities available on the island, I headed back up the hill.

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins unless otherwise noted. No commercial usage without express permission. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life in Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!


My private island – part one

catalina island

Catalina Express offers a birthday promotion of a free ride to Catalina Island as long as you travel there on the day of your birthday. You can stay for as long as 30 days.

Since visiting the island with friends last September (see post here) I have thought about taking advantage of this offer. So I made the decision, booked a hotel room and requested my free ticket.

Rather than pay the $34 parking fee for two days, I decided to make the trip to San Pedro by public transportation (Expo Line to Silver Line). There are some things I learned the hard way but I made it just in time to run on to the boat… fortunately on an off-season Monday morning the boat was less than full! Next time, hopefully, I will know not to get on the wrong bus!

As it was my birthday I figured I would treat myself to fish ‘n chips. Many years ago I remember ordering this dish at the same restaurant on the pier and was very happy.

catalina islandcatalina island

Well, nothing remains the same. I was not expecting fish rolls and shoe string potatoes… not quite my idea of fish ‘n chips!

But I couldn’t complain about the view (see photo at top of page). Although the island was experiencing typical “May Grey” (or May Gray, depending on what dictionary you use) I was feeling the magic of Catalina nonetheless, and sucking in the fresh sea air.

catalina island

This fellow came over to say hello. Or so I thought… Suddenly there was a flurry of wings and next thing I knew one of the fish rolls, the container of tartar sauce and several of the shoestring potatoes disappeared as I was looking at the backside of the gull flying off. I should have known better!

I really didn’t mind that I lost half my lunch but I did feel bad for the seagull. With that kind of diet on a regular basis he would not be looking forward to a long, healthy life.

catalina island

Compared to my photos from the last trip, these look pretty murky. But, nothing I could do about the weather. I’ve been to Catalina in every season and never before seen it without the sun.

catalina island

Because it was off-season (I believe the season begins next month in June) I was able to book a nice room for a great price at the Hotel St. Lauren. If you look at the top floor you will see a deck that is for the use of all guests with a view in all directions. I would have no problem staying there again.

catalina island

Out in the bay you can see the cruise ship Carnival Imagination. Too bad the passengers had to experience Catalina on such a dismal day.

I walked around with my little point & shoot camera snapping a few photos here and there. Even without the sun, I always feel like this is my special, private island and I was more than happy to be there.

Click on an image below to start the slideshow:

Part Two coming up when I have had a chance to look at the photos from my other camera.

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins unless otherwise noted. No commercial usage without express permission. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life in Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!




Spidies, dragonflies and lions


It’s that time of year again for the annual Spider Pavilion at the Natural History Museum. This year I was able to get the earliest time slot for my visit, 10:00am. Last year my slot was at 2:00pm (you can see that post here) and I wondered if a morning visit would be better.

los angeles county natural history museumAs it turns out I think the afternoon was a better time. It seemed like last year there were more and different kinds of spiders hanging out!

los angeles county natural history museum

I asked one of the guides and she mentioned that in the afternoon is when most of the spiders like to spend time repairing their webs and generally tidying up. In the morning they have just had breakfast.

I had intended to just pop in, say hello to the arachnids, then jump back on the train to go home as there were a lot of things I needed to work on.

los angeles county natural history museum

But once I was there anyway, I decided to wander through the Nature Garden. I am a member so (other than my $45 annual membership) I have free access to the museum.

I love spending time in the garden as there is something different to see with each visit.

This beautiful orange dragonfly (above) caught my attention.

los angeles county natural history museum

Then I saw this couple swooping crazily around the pond. They finally settled on this leaf to consummate their nuptials. Baby dragonflies coming soon?

los angeles county natural history museum

The original couple abandoned the leaf and moved on to a twig that was floating by.

Word got around and pretty soon another courting couple arrived. A dragonfly orgy.

I was using my 18 – 135 telephoto lens from afar and had to crop the photo down quite a bit so the quality is not that great.

los angeles county natural history museum


los angeles county natural history museum

You can see why I wanted to take a photo of this bush. Even with the dried up brown flowers it is still spectacular. And you may remember I was visiting Catalina Island recently. (See post here.) On this trip we didn’t go far enough inland to see any specimens. But now I know about it, I’ll be sure to look for it next time.

los angeles county natural history museum

I was very happy to see this fountain working again. On my last visit it was shut off and I was afraid it was a permanent situation because of the drought. But I see no reason why fountains with recycled water cannot continue to run. City birds (and other creatures) have come to rely on human-created water features. And I love to see water fountains myself.

california science center

Next door at the Exposition Park Rose Garden this normally exuberant fountain has been silenced while surrounded by well-watered, green lawns. What is wrong with this picture?


Meanwhile, back at the Natural History Museum, I wandered into the Gem and Mineral Hall. From the NHM website: The Gem and Mineral Hall displays more than 2,000 spectacular specimens within two large galleries that comprise what is considered to be one of the finest exhibits of gems and minerals in the world.

If you click on this link there is a good photo of the hall. My photo above is of the Quartz Crystal Ball, one of the largest flawless quartz crystal balls in the world at 10.9 inch (27.7 cm) diameter and weighing 65 lbs (29.5 kg).

los angeles county natural history museum

Photo of just one wall in the hall. Whenever I visit the museum I never miss the opportunity to see the gems and minerals. I never cease to be amazed at the different varieties and configurations.

los angeles county natural history museum

Some photographers travel thousands of miles at great expense to shoot pictures of wild beasts. I only have to swipe my TAP card on the Expo Line for a 20-minute ride to NHM! These black rhinos were kind enough to pose for me.

los angeles county natural history museum

And these African lions are having way too much fun.

The dioramas in the African Mammal Hall (and North American Mammals) have been maintained since the 1920s. I still have vivid memories of seeing them the first time I visited the museum in the 1960s (the first time my family moved to LA). Although exhibits like these probably wouldn’t be created today, they stand the test of time and I enjoy the opportunity to study the animals up close and personal.

At this point in time I was ready to go home.

And it so happens I’ll be back at the museum on Sunday meeting some friends for the Mummies Exhibit.

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life in Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!