FAQs

Avalon
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Directions to the Boat

How long is the ferry ride?

The boat takes approximately 2 hours to arrive on the island. The total travel time can vary with weather conditions, number of passengers, and the ferry’s final destinations.

Am I going to get seasick?

The crossing to the island is typically calm. However, some students do experience seasickness. If you are prone to motion sickness, you may want to get approved for seasickness medication on your medical form. You can help avoid motion sickness by getting out into the fresh air, looking at the horizon, and by drinking ginger ale.

What is the typical island weather like?

Daytime temperatures average 60-70 degrees and nighttime averages 45-60 degrees. Our “rainy” season begins in December and runs through March. Our average, rainfall is 13 inches.

What do you do if it rains?

It rains infrequently on the island. During those rainy days, we try to continue with the program as planned. We are able to snorkel in the rain. Hey, you’re getting wet anyway, right? If the rain does not permit the scheduled program, we always have fun and exciting alternatives planned.

What is the water temperature?

Winter water temperature ranges from 56-62 degrees. The water warms throughout the year to a maximum of 72 degrees in September.

How will I keep warm in the ocean?

CIMI is able to equip every student and adult in wetsuits that help keep them warm during their snorkels, while also providing flotation.

Do I need to know how to swim to go snorkeling?

We frequently have non-swimmers participate in every aspect of the program. Our wetsuits help students to float. Every instructor and chaperone carries boogie boards to assist students having difficulty swimming.

Do I need to bring my own snorkeling gear?

You can bring your own gear if you choose to. CIMI will provide students with all of the necessary gear to snorkel: mask, fins, snorkel, wetsuit, booties, and hood. Some students may be provided snorkel weight belts during the basic and ecology snorkels at the discretion of their instructor.

Can I snorkel with glasses? Contact lenses?

No, you cannot snorkel with glasses. However, we are able to equip students with prescription masks in lieu of their glasses. Whether or not you choose to snorkel in contacts is up to you and your eye care provider. Our staff members often snorkel in their contact lenses without any issues.

Do you serve vegetarian alternatives?

We provide a vegetarian option at every meal. We also have a salad bar at both lunch and dinner.

How do you deal with a severe food allergy?

We deal with food allergies every day. The best course of action is to communicate with the facility director, who will coordinate with the food service director. If there are any further concerns or questions, we will contact you for clarification. As always, the earlier we know about your severe food allergies, the better we can serve your specific needs.

Can I call my child at camp? Can my child call home?

We request that you call your child only in the case of an emergency. Incoming parent phone calls can be a challenge because students are busy in program from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Students are only allowed to call home with the knowledge and consent of their head teacher.

Can I get cell phone reception?

The majority of people will not be able to get reception. Everyone’s cell phone plan is different, so cell phone reception is very hit-and-miss.

Do you have a nurse or doctor on site?

We do not have a nurse or doctor in the facility. Our staff holds certifications in first aid, CPR for the Professional Rescuer, and Lifeguarding. We can also transport students to our local clinic in Avalon.

Why is it necessary for the chaperones to supervise the kids both inside and outside the dorms and around camp at free time?

Adult leaders are our greatest allies and an integral part of our program. By having the chaperones care for the students during non-programming time, our staff is able to prepare for the next activity and address other camp needs.

Can I participate if I have asthma?

Students with asthma participate in our program all the time. It is critical for students with asthma to bring their inhaler with them to every program, including water programs such as snorkeling and kayaking. Without their inhaler, participation in the program may be limited.

How many chaperones am I allowed to bring?

You are allowed to bring one chaperone for each study group. We do reserve the right to limit the number of chaperones. The bottom line is that the more adult leaders that come, the less space is available to serve students.

Can parents visit their kids?

We do not allow parental visits due to the remote location of our facilities.

Do you have student health forms in other languages?

We have PDF formatted student health forms in both English and Spanish. Check with your child’s teacher for the appropriate medical release form.

Do you have wireless internet?

Access to the internet varies by program location. Due to the limited bandwidth on Catalina, the internet is only available to our adult leaders and not to our students.

Do you provide pillows?

No, we do not provide pillows.

Where can parents send mail?

We operate 3 facilities on Catalina Island: Toyon Bay, Fox Landing, and Cherry Cove, so please be sure to choose the correct site…

Toyon Bay –    P.O. Box 796, Avalon, CA 90704

Fox Landing – P.O. Box 1920, Avalon, CA 90704

Cherry Cove –  P.O. Box 5015, Two Harbors, CA 90704

Do you screen your staff and do background checks?
All staff must satisfactorily complete a criminal history record check before beginning work. This screening includes a self-disclosure form, a public records check and annual check of the U.S. Department of Justice National Sex Offender Public Website. In addition, all employees must satisfactorily complete biometric (Live Scan Fingerprint) screening submitted to the California Department of Justice and the FBI.

These criminal history records are reviewed by the CIMI’s HR Director prior to the employee beginning work and must conform to Guided Discoveries’ hiring thresholds.

Questions or requests for additional information may be directed to Glenn Robison, CIMI’s Director of Human Resources and Compliance at: glenn@gdi.org.

Do you have a summer camp?

We do have summer camp programs. You can contact our business office at 1-800-645-1423 for more information or visit our website: www.guideddiscoveries.org.

What are my options for paying my school’s final bill?

We prefer to obtain payment at the time of the school’s visit. If this is not possible due to your school’s policies, we ask that payment be made to our business office within 10 business days of your trip.