The Flying Fish of Catalina Island

The season for spying this Avalon-adjacent marvel is straight ahead.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE... the typical movements of the fin-sporting, gill-rocking denizens of the ocean? Would you say that our fish friends swim, or float in place, or drift? Does it depend on the species in question? Are there other words to describe the ways the piscine world travels, from wriggling to shimmy? You could probably summon a dozen terms, right now, from skimming to flitting, but we'll wager that you'd never, ever say that a fish can fly. Unless, of course, you hail from Catalina Island, or spend a good amount of time at Two Harbors or Avalon or in the inland canyons (if so, lucky). For Catalina does happen to be home to the famous Flying Fish, or, rather, the famous Flying Fish hang out in the nearby waters. Let's clear up two things pronto: The Flying Fish do not have wings, but rather pectoral fins that do seem an awful lot like bird wings, at least when seen from a distance. And two? The Flying Fish does appear to "fly" over the surface of the water for several feet, though it flaps not but rather glides.

WHEN CAN ONE SEE THIS WONDER? Nighttime is the right time for Flying Fish sightings, and summertime, too, is the season for the spectacle. Everything Flying Fish tends to get to gliding after Memorial Day Weekend, while the wrap up falls just ahead of the the beginning of autumn. Visit Catalina Island has the information on boats, times, and prices, so you'll likely want to line that up before your island idyll. And you may want to consider how you describe the movements of fishies down the road. They can swim, of course, and sometimes shimmy, and if you're in the right spot on the right summer night, they can even take flight.

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