Trip Report and Photos
Catalina Island on the Sundiver Open Boat
and Photos © Elaine
Jobin, may not be reproduced in part or whole without advanced
On Saturday, January
22nd, 2005 I went on the Sundiver
Open Boat to Catalina Island. It had been more than a week since
our last big winter storm and I wasnít sure how good the diving
conditions would be.
The morning channel
crossing started with fog and gentle rolling swells. On route
we navigated around a few large chunks of floating storm debris.
When we arrived at Catalina we had bright sunny skies and very
Our first dive was
at the site where the 37 foot Bertram "Toro" met an unfortunate
fate during a storm on November 21, 2004. Most of the remains
of this boat sit off the Catalina shoreline in about 15 feet
of water. We could see the outline of the hull from the deck
of the Sundiver.
a surface swim though the kelp and storm debris (mostly grass
and bamboo) to the visible hull. I dropped down to considerable
surge in the shallow water. The visibility at 15 feet was amazingly
good. These are some of the photos that I took in this area.
I headed to deeper water and saw more pieces of the boat and
some personal effects spread over the bottom. The deeper that
I went the more the visibility dropped. At 95 feet visibility
was only about 10 feet. This was the "freshest" wreck that I
have ever seen. It was very sad. In surveying the remains it
seemed obvious that this was a boat that was "loved" by its
owners. There were blankets, towels, and some personal effects
mixed in with stray pieces of the hull. Pages from a dive log
book were resting between leaves of kelp plants. Most wrecks
that we dive are "sterile" in comparison - stripped down remains
of hulls with no evidence of human inhabitance.
I got back on the Sundiver, I jokingly said "hey, I found a
wallet". Several people looked at me with surprise and said
"You did?". "Nah. Just kidding". Not five minutes later Doug
W. climbed on board waving a plastic bag that actually DID contain
a brown leather wallet. He had seen a piece of plastic bag sticking
out from under some of the debris - he had pulled on it - and
- violla a wallet!
in the galley was cleared for cleaning the things that had been
brought up by the group from the dive site. A drill, a plaque,
a plastic wine glass, a pair of goggles, some fishing gear,
and a DVD (Ironically, James Bond "Die Another Day").
Ray soaked the wallet and its contents in a bowl of water. He
wanted to get it cleaned up for a happy return to the owner.
For a brief while the table became a drying rack. Contents included
$20, some credit cards, a PADI advanced OW card, some grocery
club cards, a Costco card, an El Pollo Loco discount card, a
college ID, a CA drivers license, and a Social Security Card.
He put in a call to the owner of the boat that a wallet had
been found at the site.
pages from the dive logbook were intact and clearly legible
- even after spending 2 months underwater. The owner had filled
in all of the information on the personal information page in
his SSI logbook - Name, address, phone number, social security
number, age, height, weight, allergies, next of kin, etc.. In
an era of identity theft, maybe filling in this information
isnít such a smart thing to do. (Fourteen years ago, NASDS used
a divers social security number as their C-card number. I asked
to not have my social security number used and put 123456789
on the application instead. To this day, that is my C card number
- very easy to remember - just, nobody ever believes it). The
personal identifying information has been blurred on the logbook
a sunny surface interval we went to our next dive site near
at this site was poor, only about 15 feet. Depth didnít make
a difference. I opted to shoot with my Nikonos 35mm close up
kit here. These are some of my photos. The sheephead were having
a "standoff" when I interrupted them - one held out a little
longer than the other.
last dive was done at the Isthmus. Conditions there were good
with at least 30 feet of visibility and a very mild current.
I saw several bat rays and a large jelly with lots of ruffles
that I think may have been a moon jelly. I shot macro with Kodachrome
25 on this dive and the film is out for processing.
Our trip home was
very smooth. Captain Ray continued cleaning and polishing the
contents of the wallet. The owner is never going to believe
that it was underwater for two months!
divers enjoyed the sunset over a bottle of wine.
the wallet finder, was smiling - Capt. Ray gave him the trip
- no charge!
of the divers are thankful that everyone who was on the Toro
is safe and we hope that all of your ill fate is over - at least
for a lifetime.
Until next time.