Friday, November 16, 2007

Yet Another Awesome Island Trip

Cool Dolphin Sighting

We encountered this group of 15-20 Dolphins about 5 miles out of Newport Beach, CA -- very cool! (If you'd rather view this in another media player, here's a link to the MPEG file.)

Dining on the Waterfront in Newport

Years ago there were a number of places in Newport that had their own dock for boaters to tie-up when they visited. Time has apparently changed all that, there are only a few left, but luckily we found a good one...

So if you happen to find yourself in Newport Harbor looking for a fine meal, check out Villa Nova Restaurant, at the north-west end of the harbor. Their dock was an easy approach, no obstructions, the food was excellent, and their prices were well within reason. They serve Italian cusine and sea food; I had Swordfish Piccata (it melted in my mouth) and my crew had Chicken Parmesean (she clearly enjoyed it.) Even with an appetizer and a couple of drinks each, the check was under $70.

To top it off, service was top notch, the staff was friendly and helpful. The waiter was attentive, he took our order straight away, and the food was in front of us before we had a chance to think about it. All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable dining experience. They suggest you call in advance to reserve a table and a space on their dock (we got lucky.) If you make it out there, tell Gary we sent you!

Villa Nova Restaurant
Phone: 949.642.7880
Lat: 33 37.228N Lon: 117 55.622W

Semi-Submarine tour, Avalon

This was shot from inside the 'semi-submarine', a tour boat that does not actually submerge, but it does put the passengers' eye level at about 6' underwater. It's a little pricey ($30 and change per person) but well worth it. The ride lasts almost an hour, and the tour guide was both interesting and knowledgeable.

The thing that seems to just about guarantee a good view is that they feed the fish at 3 different spots along the route, and the fish are very much in on the deal. They are clearly expecting the free meals, hundreds (if not thousands) of them show up on queue, to join in the feeding frenzy. (At the end of the clip you can see they're all in a hurry, all of a sudden... that was their dinner bell ringing.)

Captain and Crew