Diving the Hermes

The wreck of the ‘Hermes‘ is also a popular Bermuda wreck site. There was a large Lion Fish waiting for me when I arrived. Shortly after that he was speared and later met me for lunch. Lion fish are delicious! The ‘Hermes’ was a U.S. Coast Guard WWII buoy tender that was sunk as an artificial reef in 1985.

Fore more information about Lion Fish in Bermuda, check out the Lion Fish Task Force.

Lion Fish Task Force

Diving Mary Celestia

The island of Bermuda is a wreck dive paradise. The island is surrounded by ship wrecks of all types. The ‘Mary Celestia’ is one of the more famous wrecks. The ship was a steam powered side paddle boat and was sunk in 1864. This is a photo of Pam next to what’s left of one of the paddle wheels. The ship was running guns for the Confederacy during the Civil War. The Confederates would trade cotton with the English for guns and then run the blockade back to the south. She was a victim of the many reefs around the island.

You can interact with a 360º 3D model at Bermuda100.

Diving in Roatán

On a shark dive in Roatan I was in the water with about thirty sharks… mostly small in the 4-5 ft. range but there were a few like this one in the 6-8 ft. range. Lots of close up shots!

Pam diving in Roatán, Honduras

We encountered this large grouper near the ship wreck of El Aguila (The Eagle) in Roatán, at a depth of 100 ft. The ship is 210′ long but in 1998 when hurricane Mitch came through it broke into three pieces… even down 100 feet!

Large Grouper lazily gliding passed El Aguila, Roatán, Honduras

Pineapple Mojito

Here’s a drink recipe I learned about while in Bora Bora. It was very popular there as it is in many other tropical places. It’s a very refreshing drink for the heat of the South Pacific.

Bora Bora Pineapple
Bora Bora Pineapple



  • 3 oz. White Rum
  • 1 oz. Triple Sec
  • 1 oz. Pineapple Juice
  • Two slices pineapple
  • Four or five lime wedges
  • Six to eight mint leaves
  • One mint sprig for garnish


Muddle the pineapple, lime and mint leaves in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Fill the shaker with ice and add the other ingredients (the liquor), shake well and strain into a highball glass. Add the mint sprig for garnish. Enjoy!

Buffalo Milk

This is another Catalina favorite… think of it as a milkshake for adults! There are several bars on the island that make this drink and the recipe can vary a little. As you can see, there is no buffalo milk in the drink… I don’t think I would even try to milk a buffalo! I understand they get pissed off easily!

Photo by John Schreiber, freelance photojournalist, Redondo Beach, California. http://blog.johnschreiber.com/2012/01/catalina-islands-interior/
Catalina Buffalo.  Photo by John Schreiber, Redondo Beach, California.



  • 1/2 shot Crème de Cacao dark
  • 1/2 shot Crème de Cacao white
  • 1/2 shot Kahlua
  • 1 shot vodka
  • 1/2 shot cream
  • 1/2 piece of a fresh banana
  • 1 sprinkle of nutmeg
  • 1 whipped cream topping


Add everything except the last two items in a blender half full of ice. Blend until smooth and pour into a glass. Add a dab of whipped cream and sprinkle with nutmeg on top.

Santa Catalina Island Golf

When Your Home Golf Course Is Catalina Island

Catalina Island Golf Course, Catalina, California, USA
Catalina Island Golf Course

Golf is often referred to as the game you love to hate. No matter how good you think you are, the “Golf Gods” are always ready and able to knock you down and return you back to earth. You might be able to string together a couple of good holes. You get a couple of pars, then you get that birdie and start feeling really good about your game… then that double or triple boogie comes along; the horrible sand trap; the deadly water hazard, and you quickly become mortal again. It’s the great equalizer in life and even happens to the great ones. How many of us smile just a little when you watch golf on TV and see a great pro player have that horrible hole just like the rest of us. Since I play for fun and don’t have to depend on my game to support myself (thank God!), I try not to take the game too seriously.

I have been fortunate to have played some of the most beautiful courses in the world, the Olympic Club, the Old Del Monte Course, The Presidio S.F., Cabo del Sol, just to name a few, but there is nothing like playing island golf.  “Mainland” courses are pretty, but when you add golf to an island, the courses become truly beautiful.

I have played the Tryall Club Course in Jamaica, the Waikoloa King’s Course and Wailea Golf Club Hawaii, the Pearl in Morea, the Coronado and yes, I have even played at St. Andrews in Scotland. What they all have in common is that they are located on islands! What I consider to be my “home island course” is here on Catalina.

All the courses I have listed above have their own unique histories. Many have hosted major tournaments and as we all know, St. Andrews is the legendary home of golf. We here in Catalina have a great deal to be proud of with our course history as well. Our course was built by the Banning Brothers in 1892 and is the oldest operating course west of the Rock Mountains. Not only has the Catalina course been played by numerous movie stars, athletes and celebrities over the years but is was the home to the Bobby Jones Invitational from 1931-1955. The Catalina Island Junior Golf Tournament started in 1967. Future pro golfers, Corey Pavin, Craig Stadler and Tiger Woods played in the tournament.

If you visit Catalina, take a little time to enjoy golf here. And for those of us who play here on a regular basis, next time you play a round, take a moment to remember the history, enjoy the beauty and realize how fortunate we are to be in such a special place.

Reprinted from the Catalina Islander February 10, 2017

Memories of Catalina

Reprinted from the Catalina Islander October 14, 2016

It was many years ago when I first met Artelle. She was an elderly lady who ran the Credit Union where I had an account. She was over eighty years old at that time and I wondered why she was still working at her age. As I got to know her, I found that her husband had died and she had an adult son, still at home, who had some problems. The money she earned helped but it seemed equally important for her to be connected and involved in the world around her. She always took the time to converse with the customers and showed an interest in their lives.

One day prior to a holiday period she asked if I had vacation plans. I mentioned I was going to spend the holidays at my home on Catalina. It was as if a light went on in her eyes. “Catalina! I grew up in Southern California and used to go to Catalina all the time,” she proclaimed. She then asked me to come into her office and she told me about her remembrances of the island.

When she was in her late teens/ early twenties, Artelle and her girlfriends used to catch the ferryboat, the S.S. Catalina, in Wilmington and go to Catalina for the weekend. It was the late 1930’s and the main attraction was the big bands playing at the casino ballroom.  There was no TV at that time but the music was broadcast on the radio all over the country. The boats also featured bands, dancing and entertainment on the passage over. Back then, the boats weren’t as fast as the express boats of today and the trip took about two and a half hours. She and her friends got “all dolled up” as she put it. “The ladies all wore fancy dresses and the men wore suits and ties and we danced on the boat all the way to the island,” Artelle stated. Then she mentioned with a sly grin that she and the girls sometimes had a few cocktails on the boat ride over.

When they arrived at the island there was always great excitement. It was like you arrived in a foreign country. Today we are used to a boat arriving almost hourly but back then it was just a couple of times a day and it was a big deal. Speedboats would jump over the boat wake as it approached, people came to the dock to sing and kids would dive for the coins passengers would throw overboard as the “Great White Steamer” docked. 

Then it was off to the Casino to dance all weekend long. She could still remember all the big bands she saw. It was clear to me that sharing these memories allowed her to step back to a time and place she remembered with great fondness. I felt privileged to have heard a bit of Catalina history from someone who lived it. Artelle passed away a few years ago but I can’t help to think of her every time I go to the New Year’s Eve event at the Casino… it always seems like I just stepped back into the 1930’s. 

Mark Marchetti-Author and Catalina resident 

Finding Catalina

Reprinted from the Catalina Islander March 25, 2016

The Catalina Islander is a weekly community newspaper serving Avalon, Catalina Island (California), and its mainland friends, since 1914.

In 1983 Jimmy Buffett wrote a song called One Particular Harbor which almost perfectly describes my relationship with Catalina Island. I was raised in Northern California and always had a fascination with the ocean and beach but neither of my parents were ‘beach people’. Never the less, it seemed I was destined to find my one particular harbor. My mother never learned to swim, but insisted that her sons would become swimmers, so as a youngster I got swimming lessons. It was fine with me because I loved to be in the water and it was the first step towards finding Catalina.

There have been many turning points in my life that have made an impact… even at a young age. In the 1950’s there was a TV show called Sea Hunt (1958-61) starring Lloyd Bridges as Mike Nelson, a retired Navy Diver who had all sorts of exciting adventures. By our modern standards, the SCUBA diving sequences and special effects would be seen as amateur but to a boy of eight with an imagination it was magic. Many of my diving friends reference Sea Hunt as their first introduction to SCUBA and credit the show for sparking their interest in diving. After seeing Sea Hunt, I had only two goals in life… to become a SCUBA diver and to own a boat (he had a cool cabin cruiser named Argonaut on the show). I was too young to learn SCUBA but quickly learned to snorkel and when I turned seventeen I took a SCUBA class and got certified. I did my check out dives in the cold, dark water of Monterey Bay and at that point in my life I had no idea a place like Catalina existed… but I was getting closer!

When my local dive shop sponsored a boat dive trip I signed up. We boarded an old rusty boat called the Emerald and headed out to sea. I don’t recall where we dove but I remember the Captain saying we would get a mooring in Avalon for the night. It was a hot, sunny summer afternoon when the boat pulled in and I’ll never forget my first impression of Catalina. The harbor was full of beautiful boats, many had music playing, there were girls in bikinis everywhere… on the beach, walking downtown, dancing on boats… everywhere!  When I ordered a beer at a local bar the bartender wasn’t overly concerned about seeing an ID (things were a little looser in the 1960’s). On top of all this, the water was clear, warm and provided great diving! I found Catalina Island and it was a very positive experience. After that, I returned as often as possible.

As my life progressed, I got married, had children and Catalina remained an important part of my life. Every visit to the island was viewed as an adventure. My children learned to swim, snorkel, SCUBA dive, paddle board and play golf here. We brought our friends so we could share the island with them and over the years have made many local friends. It was about twelve years ago when we realized the dream of buying our own home here. While we don’t live here full time, we now get to spend considerably more time on the island.

I write historical fiction novels and have traveled to many places encountering interesting people along the way… many have inspired characters in my books. Places like Key West, Saint Augustine, Port Royal, and Avalon have long and colorful histories that can provide a backdrop to a story. I have also found the best stories are told around a campfire, on a fishing boat or at a local bar. If you don’t hear a good story in places like The Marlin Club, The Lobster Trap, Coyote Joe’s or The Locker Room, well, you just aren’t listening!

Many years ago I found myself sitting at a bar, having a few beers with Joseph Wambaugh, a very well-known author… which is a separate story in itself. My first book was in the beginning stages but I was struggling with some aspects of the craft. We talked about writing, etc. and I learned some things from him about listening to the stories around me, but more importantly, seeking stories out and remembering them. Many of the tales heard can be inserted into a novel through a character in the story. I also learned writing is a process that can’t be hurried and all about ‘writer’s block’… when you just can’t make the process happen.

Fortunately I have Catalina. Maybe it’s the weather, the people, the relaxed atmosphere, the cocktails… but there are two places I never have writer’s block; Catalina Island and aboard my boat! So I’ll just keep coming back to Catalina… like Jimmy said in the song, ‘I know I don’t get there often enough but God knows I surely try.’ 

Mark Marchetti, Author and Catalina Island Resident

Hunting & Fishing

​I thought it might be fun to include some photos from a variety of hunting and fishing adventures to the web site. In doing so, I realize there are many people who oppose hunting. If that’s your position that’s fine, you are welcome to do as you wish with your life… and I will do as I wish with mine.

Wild Boar Hunting
Mark Marchetti & The Wild Boar (Sus scrofa), also known as the wild swine or Eurasian wild pig.

​Hunting has been a part of the history of this country since the beginning. There have been times in the past when the approach to hunting was wrong. Hunting the buffalo to near extinction… hunters just shooting from moving trains was unethical and just wrong, even when looked at from the context of the times they lived. Today, hunters payfor the privilege to hunt and support a thriving outdoor industry by paying license fees and buying expensive equipment. Just go into a Cabela’s or Bass Pro Shop outlet and see the crowds of people spending money or go down to your local harbor. Think about the cost of those boats, the upkeep and maintenance, the fishing equipment, the permits and fees… all so they can go out on the water and catch a few fish. I’m not talking about commercial fishing; I’m talking about the guy who is allowed to catch two salmon.

Mark Marchetti with a pair of Chinook Salmon
Mark Marchetti with a pair of Chinook Salmon caught off Half Moon Bay, California

Hunters and fisherman are conservationists involved in a recreational activity. They support laws to protect the wilderness and want to see the animals they hunt managed so they can thrive. Hunting and fishing should be viewed as the harvest of animals for consumption. In other words, if you shoot it you should eat it. Obey the rules and take only what is allowed.

Suisun Marsh Pheasant Club
W. D. Andrews, Mark Marchetti, Rob Scott and Don Mah enjoyed some Suisun Marsh Pheasant Club hunting in Fairfield. Tosa the Brittany and Skyler the German Shorthair Pointer pointed, while Taffy and Oakie the Labs did the flushing. The white pheasant was an unexpected treat. Photo by Tom Mattusch

​There are unethical hunters out there… poachers, who give hunting a bad name. They break the rules, hunt out of season, take more game than allowed, don’t purchase their hunting/fishing license, etc. These are the people who should be reported and prosecuted because they are destroying a valuable natural resource.

​My relatives owned ranches where deer and other animals were a supplemental food source. They were not always available and they were not to be wasted. That philosophy was handed down to me and so I don’t hunt animals that don’t end up on the dinner table. This is an ethical view of hunting in my opinion because the animal is not being wasted. Many people view hunting as killing and that it’s cruel. I don’t believe there is any way to take any animal’s life that doesn’t involve some level of cruelty. Just go to a slaughter house to see how cows or pigs are killed and butchered if you don’t believe me. Yet the very people who might turn down a deer burger based on misplaced moral objections will gladly eat a steak or pork rib. Maybe it’s easier when you’re removed from the process. Meat comes from animals. It’s not just an item packaged in cellophane at the local grocery store.

Brace of Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo)
Ted Creed, of Pleasant Hill and Mark Marchetti, of Montara, went down to Gilroy in search of some spring birds. This pair of jakes came for lunch and stayed for dinner. Mark was using his new Beretta shotgun, Ted was using his 30 year old Remington Model 1100. Both used Federal 3 inch copper plate #4 to complete their harvest. Once the birds were spotted, Tom Mattusch called the birds into range with an H. S. Strut World Champion Triple Glass Slate Call.

While the end product is a dead animal, the majority of time hunting does not result in the taking of game. It’s not as simple as just walking out into the woods and shooting something. It takes a great deal of skill, training, and practice to become a successful hunter. Most hunts are just that… a hunt to find something to shoot, often without a shot even being fired. The same philosophy applies to fishing. If you’re not going to eat it, let it go. There is nothing wrong with catch and release. I have been on fishing trips where I have caught several trout and released all but a few that were cooked for dinner.

Enjoy hunting and fishing responsibly.