Motion Episodes

Romantic Surprise While Exploring Catalina Island

Tags: Motion
Catalina Island is an exciting travel destination with the look and feel of a European escape but this vacation island hot spot is just 22 miles from the beaches and bright lights of Los Angeles. Host Greg Aiello takes two guest hikers from the east coast and introduces them to this incredible island getaway. It was the perfect spot for a once-in-a-lifetime surprise.
Catalina Island is a small island about 75 square miles in size. Chewing gum guru William Wrigley Junior bought Santa Catalina Island in the 1920s and began to develop it as a tourist attraction. The Wrigley family turned 90-percent of the island over to a non-profit conservancy in the 1970s to help preserve Catalina's natural history for generations to come. Today the island remains a popular getaway for those who have discovered the charm and incredible marine life that make Catalina a special place.

Avalon is the only incorporated city on the island. It's one of those sea-side cities that draw you in. Its small streets, friendly people and European flair make a trip here feel like you are on an exotic island a world away. There is also a romantic vibe about Avalon that will be the perfect backdrop for the Motion guest hikers Katy and Matt -- who are from Pennsylvania. They have been dating for a couple of years and are more than ready for their Catalina adventure.

"Actually our friends had introduced us and they got married the summer before we started dating so we were in the wedding. And then we just got closer and I gave him a chance and that was the best thing I ever did," said Katy.

A fairy takes you from Long Beach, California to the island. One of the best things about Avalon is all the shopping and dining is within walking distance.

Greg starts their adventure trip off by kayaking within the protected shores of Avalon. The water clarity around Catalina is breathtaking. It's one of the reason this is such a popular place for kayaking and scuba diving.

"We took a tour of the island on the speed boat and then a whole school of dolphin came up right next to the boat!" said Katy.

Bottlenose Dolphin is common in the waters of Catalina and travel in pods of 20 to 30. After the boat followed the dolphin, they found a group of sea lions bathing in the sun so to get a closer look, the group kayaked to the beach. After an incredible paddle along the island's rugged shore and a once-in-a-lifetime experience with the Bottlenose Dolphin, Greg takes them scuba diving. It was Katy's first time and she was a little nervous about it.

Catalina Divers supplied the wet suits for their cold dive into the waters off the island. They went over every aspect of the dive with safety being the number one goal.

When they entered the water, Katy had a mini panic attack with all the restrictive gear on and safety tips to remember. Fortunately Greg knew what to do to get her mind to relax.

"Greg turned to me and said, "Just try to put your head under water. Once you go under water it is a whole new experience and it will go away. So I put my regulator in and I put my head in and everything just changed," said Katy.

Just 40 feet down and steps from the shore their world is transformed with a surreal beauty beaming with life.

"We saw a lot of kelp and it felt like an underwater forest," said Katy.

After their scuba diving adventure, they rented a golf cart to explore every inch of the city.

Matt had confessed to Greg that he was planning on proposing to Katy during the trip. He asked him to find the perfect spot for him to get down on one knee. So, Greg led them on a hike through the 'Garden of Sky' and he tried to time it perfectly with the sunset.

"The Garden of the Sky Hike is one of our signature hikes that you can do right from Avalon. You don't have to be taken anywhere. You can just walk the canyon. It has really spectacular views," said John Mack, Catalina Island Conservancy.

It doesn't take long for the trail to start heading up after you leave the botanical gardens. The views led to amazing shots of Avalon and the ocean below. Once Matt found the perfect spot to propose to Katy, Greg and the crew gave him some space. With a cue from Greg, Matt knew the cameras were rolling and the moment was finally here.

"This is an incredible trip and I feel like it is so much more special because it was with you and I really want to have more special days like this for the rest of our lives. So, Katy, will you marry me," said Matt.

"He proposed and all you guys were in on it and I have no idea! It was the most unbelievable and best moment of my life," said Katy. "The Motion team did an amazing job keeping that from me and allowing us to have this authentic moment where Matt proposed to me and they just captured it."

This was a moment the Motion crew won't forget. Being able to share the beauty of Catalina Island with Katy and Matt during this special moment meant something to all of the crew.

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Photos: Exploring Catalina Island
Go behind the scenes as Greg Aiello explores California's Catalina Island.
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