Head out for a three-hour tour

Folks who take either of the three-hour tours hosted by Village Laguna on July 22 won't end up on a long-running television series, but they will go home with a new view of Laguna Beach.

Village Laguna is hosting the coastal cruises in a 63-foot catamaran to give folks a different perspective of the city — from its bluebelt.

"Our guests will benefit in many ways," said Charlotte Masarik, co-chairwoman with Jackie Gallagher of the event. "Not only will they view the beauty of the ocean and its marine life, but the coastal development and some of the historical buildings and fabulous world-class architecture that stands out from the shore of Laguna Beach.

"This is also a fantastic way to see the Greenbelt that surrounds the city, which we believe is paramount to our environmental well-being."

Two cruises are scheduled: one at 1 p.m. and one at 5 p.m. Both leave from the Dana Point Harbor and travel north along the coastline to Laguna Beach. Guests will embark 30 minutes before the catamaran sails. A Village Laguna representative will be at Dock Six to greet voyagers.

"Donna Kaletz, co-owner of Dana Wharf Sportfishing, has generously let us charter their newest boat, the environmentally-friendly 'Ocean Adventures' for the cruises," Masarik said.

Richard Picheney, speaking on behalf of Village Laguna at the City Council meeting Tuesday, described the catamaran as luxurious.

The trips will be educational as well as visually satisfying, said Masarik, who has vetted the cruises with Gallagher.

Eric Jessen, a member of the Laguna Beach Historical Society and retired chief of Orange County Harbors, Beaches and Parks, will serve as master of ceremonies on the cruises. Jessen will share his knowledge of coastal architecture and history as it developed in Laguna Beach and the acquisition of the open space that girdles the city.

Marine biologist Nancy Caruso, the self-titled "Kelp Lady," will provide information on the eight years she has spent cultivating spores used to reforest the kelp along the coast. She also recently launched an effort to bring back green abalone to the area.

The cruises will also include a light snack and complimentary beverage.

"We are excited about this tour," Masarik said. "We hope that it will be a popular event this July, and will, like our Charm House Tour, be viewed as a public benefit and become an annual affair for everyone in and around Laguna Beach to enjoy."

The 5 p.m. cruise is sold out. Tickets are still available for the 1 p.m. cruise.

Tickets are $75 and may be purchased through PayPal at http://www.villagelaguna.org or by mailing a check to P.O. Box 1309, Laguna Beach, CA 92652.

Proceeds from ticket sales benefit Village Laguna programs, including the election of city and school district officials, an annual scholarship to a Laguna Beach High School graduating senior and donations to local charities.

The group was founded to prevent the "Miami-ization" of Laguna's coastline with high-rise hotels. With the establishment of a height limit, the group turned its attention to the preservation of Laguna's village atmosphere and the cultural resources and the protection of the environment, including participation in the successful efforts to stop development in Laguna Canyon.

"Today we understand the need to protect not only our greenbelt, but our bluebelt," Masarik said. "We created the coastal tours for that reason."

For more information, call (949) 472-7503.

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