Catalina Island is 20 Miles from Long Beach, 70 miles from San Diego, and 31 miles from Marina Del Ray, California. If you have considered taking a sojourn there, this video is well worth your money. It is a professionally edited and well-photographed look at the features that would call to a boater. With pleasing narration, ambient sounds, and occasional use of music, the information is easy on the senses.

Cast Off for Catalina features an on-deck view of the island during a counter-clockwise circumnavigation, and includes information important to any boater wanting to follow in the film’s footsteps. There are clear images of notable landmarks and descriptions of the plentiful small anchorages and their holding bottoms. The harbor master of Avalon discusses the mooring amenities and protocols, and some additional features from the island’s tourist sites. There is also good footage of the wildlife and feature photography from onboard looking to shore, as well as onshore coverage of various anchorages.

The DVD, which is not a sailor’s guide per se, would be equally valuable to a powerboater, a sailor, or a tourist hopping a ferry over for a short stay. Yet it is geared toward those who would wish to be on the water, as the greater bulk of the information is shown from onboard a center cockpit split rig. Plus, some of the videography and map animations by Jack Joe are really helpful in giving a feel for “getting there” as well as what you will see when you arrive. Additional inputs from Bill McNeely, author of Cruising Catalina Island, help paint the picture of this ripe overnight sailing destination.

Cast Off for Catalina a DVD directed by Ted Field and Mark Ritts (Mark Ritts Productions, Inc., 2005; 119 minutes)