Storm Damage December 2014

“Nor’easter” Takes its Toll on Catalina Island

The shoreline of Catalina that looks back towards the mainland of California (referred to as the “lee side”) is normally protected from the large open ocean swell. This gives camp the impression of living next to a lake, with next to no surf or breakers. On occasion, high winds blowing across the San Pedro Channel, originating from the northeast, will create dramatic and powerful surf. Waves of six feet or higher and with a relentless frequency will hammer the lee side with destructive force. Islanders warily refer to these events as a “Nor’easters.” Because of the direction camp’s cove (and Avalon Harbor) faces, we are especially susceptible to these rare Nor’easters.
On the evening of December 30, while camp was in the middle of its winter closure, with very few staff on grounds, the most powerful Nor’easter in 17 years blew in without much warning. Avalon Harbor was pounded, breaking four large vessels from their moorings and driving them ashore. One large sail boat sank in the harbor. Dozens of dinghies, swamped by ocean waves, sunk or washed ashore. Two lives were lost in Avalon Harbor amongst this chaos.

Camp Loses Four Boats, A-Frame, Gangway and Landing Float to Storm

Campus by the Sea was hit hard too. In preparation for the winter season, camp brings ashore many of its boats and removes its swim line, swim float and half of its hinged, 100 foot landing float that is anchored off the end of the pier. Three camp boats: the Fastbreak, the Fellowship, the Minnow and a row boat were still in the water when the storm hit. They broke loose from their moorings and shipwrecked on the rocky beach between the pier and Little Gallagher’s summer staff housing area.

   Give now to Campus by the Sea to assist with repairs via secure online donation


Two shipwrecked CBS boats sit on shore between pier and Little Gallaghers Close up detail of hull and deck damaged sustained by Fastbreak

The remaining 50 foot section of landing float was torn from its anchor system and repeatedly rammed the “A-frame” structure that supports the gangway ramp that runs from the end of the pier down to the landing float. One of the A-frame pilings finally shattered bringing down the hoist and gangway with it. Finally the landing float twisted and broke in half. One section lost its floatation drums and sank next to pier. The other half , a gnarled wreck, remained tethered to the pier and anchor chain. The next morning, the pier remained intact but not much else. See additional pictures on our Facebook post. Fortunately no staff suffered injury during the entire event.

Quarter section of mangled landing float still partially anchored next to CBS pier Other quarter section of landing float on bottom of bay, stripped of its floats and deck boards

Before and After

Pictures below depict CBS pier as it looked before the storm, as it unloads a group from a past spring season.
Bottom picture from same angle after the storm. Gangway, most of A-frame, hoist and float, taken by the Nor’easter.




God’s Provision in the Storm

The damage could have been much worse. Campus by the Sea is thankful for the outpouring of concern expressed by camp’s supporters in the wake of the storm damage.  We are grateful that our pier was undamaged and has remained intact; however, the A-frame which supports the ramp to our float was completely destroyed as well as the ramp and one of our two floats.  We also sustained substantial damage to three of our boats. After closer evaluation, all will likely be totaled. God has been gracious in the timing of this setback:  during this time of year we do not host guest groups and a company which builds and repairs pier systems had already been scheduled to be on the island, assisting another camp. This company will be available to replace our A-frame and float. Though the time frame is tight, with God’s continued presence in this situation, we are confident that camp can be ready to host guests by the time our first group arrives on February 27th

We Need Your Help!

After seeing the storm damage photos on our Facebook post, many of you have asked how you can help during this time

          PRAY:   First and foremost lift our needs up to the Lord on high.  We are asking for a committed group of prayer warriors to pray daily for CBS from now until February 27th.  Please pray that the repairs would be completed in a timely manner and that God would provide the resources needed to complete the work. We trust that the Lord knows our commitments and He will provide all our needs in preparing for our busy spring season. (We are scheduled to host 280 InterVarsity students staring March 15 – the second biggest group we’ve ever hosted).

          GIVE:  Of course, we have substantial financial needs as well. At this writing, all details with insurance have not been settled. However, it looks like camp will need to cover about $200,000 of the needed repairs to our A-frame, gangway, hoist and float. All total damage and loss (including boats) are estimated to be upwards of $400,000. Use this link to donate on InterVarsity’s website for the CBS Storm Relief Fund.  Gifts of any size are needed and appreciated! (IV students, if you sacrificed your daily coffee habit for a week you could help us reach our need).

          ACT:  Lastly, some of you have asked about volunteering and how you might tangibly help out.  We appreciate your servant-hearts for CBS.  At this time, most of the needed repair work will require highly skilled workers and contractors on a tight time-frame, so opportunities to work here at camp are limited.  However, many of you are well connected and know how to leverage social media.  We would appreciate your efforts to spread the word about our situation to your communities, especially Intervarsity student groups, Facebook pages or other group fundraising sites that may be able to help us. Direct the proceeds to any of these fund raising efforts to InterVarsity, noting the CBS Storm Relief Fund. And check back on our Facebook page often for updates and progress reports.

May He who can supply immeasurably more than we can hope or imagine demonstrate His power, authority and loving-kindness in this situation.

   Give now to Campus by the Sea to assist with repairs via secure online donation

Fellowship stranded on beach after storm  Floatation drums from destroyed landing dock washed up on Little Gallaghers beach  Crippled and broken quarter section of CBS dock destroyed by Nor'easter on Dec 30 2014