Event Report and Photos
Avalon Harbor Cleanup
and Photos © Elaine
Jobin, may not be reproduced in part or whole without advanced
On Saturday February
26th, 2005 I attended the annual Avalon
Harbor Cleanup. This huge scuba event is held each year
on the Saturday following Presidentís Day.
Long before dawn,
I piled into the divemobile, picked up some gas, and headed
to the Queen Mary Catalina
Express Landing. The stop for gas made me a little bit late,
but, I arrived at the ticket counter at about 8 minutes past
6:00. Only two other people were still in line. One person was
arguing fiercely with the ticket agent. "Iíve got to be on that
boat. I want to take part in the dive. I bought all new dive
gear; let me talk to the supervisor."
The boarding plank
was still down and the Express boat was still moored to the
dock. If they would just process our reservations, there was
plenty of time to get on the boat. It could have easily been
accomplished in less time than it was taking to watch the pleading
passenger and the unyielding supervisor. However, the longer
that I watched, and listened, the clearer it became that this
simple solution wasnít going to happen. The guy that was arguing
with the supervisor was getting no where. I realized that I
wasnít going to be going anywhere either. I figured that the
boat must be full. Boy, did I blow it by being late.
The ticket agent
said that I could have a spot on the next boat. I explained
that I needed to be on the first boat and that having missed
it, I didnít even really need to go at all The ticket agent
said "well, fine, but if you donít go we are going to still
charge you for a reservation not cancelled in advance." What
a *&$%## I thought. I had needed to arrive on the early boat
because I was supposed to participate in the event by being
a part of the "Kayak Patrol".
The members of the
kayak patrol are out in position before the dive begins. They
try and protect the divers from boat traffic, they assist tired
or distressed divers, they help with any heavy trash, and, they
try to keep divers from traveling underneath the Catalina Express
dock. If divers wander under the dock - the express canít run.
I went with the other
unhappy traveler to the helicopter terminal. Maybe we could
catch the 15 minute whirly bird ride to the island. This option
would still get both of us to the clean-up on time. A one way
chopper ride costs $80, but, what the heck, Iíve never been
on a helicopter before. The ticket agent at the helicopter was
extremely nice and understanding of our situation, but, she
had no available space to offer us.
We walked back to
the Catalina Express terminal and opted to take the 8:30 departure
to Catalina. We were sad that we would be late, but, at least
we could still be out there for the event. This is a photo of
me gritting my teeth on the 8:30 boat. I was madder with the
Catalina Express when I later learned that the boat that they
had prevented us from boarding had only been 2/3 full.
I missed my opportunity
to participate in the kayak patrol, but, I did have lots of
time to take photos. The Avalon Harbor Cleanup is the only time
of the year that divers are allowed in the harbor, so, it is
the only day of the year that you can get photos like these.
began emerging from the water, some with full bags of trash.
Each diver had to
check out with a divemaster at the start of their dive and check
in with a divemaster at the end of their dive. A numbered wrist
band system was used to help keep track of the 500+ divers who
were registered to participate in this event. Some divers put
their band on their BCD instead of on their wrists and this
seemed to make it a little easier for the divemasters.
to sort the gathered trash.
Some trash was everyday
garbage. I donít know exactly how much was collected, but it
was a lot. The harbor has got to be much cleaner after this
Some trash was a
little more interesting. Divers hoped to find something of value
that they might want to take home, or, something that might
be unique enough to win them one of the trash awards (oldest
trash, nastiest trash, most unusual trash, etc.) to be presented
later in the day. These are photos of some of the more interesting
The trash pictured
in the last four frames above did win awards at the trash award
After the dive, everyone
had some time for lunch and to look around Avalon
Then everyone gathered
together for the awards ceremony and the raffle ticket drawings.
The trash awards
were wonderful mosaics made by students at Avalon High School.
Ken Kurtis MCed the
Silver Tongued Liar contest where divers vie with each other
for who can make up the best story about their trash. Ken also
made some announcements about the upcoming Chamber
Day Event to be held in May.
Throughout the awards
ceremony the raffle prize winners were announced.
As usual, there were
some great raffle prizes this year. Sponsors included Aeris,
the Catalina Island Museum, the Catalina Island Inn, Hammerhead
Press, Pelican, Beverly Factor, Sea Cure, Joeís Place Restaurant,
Sallyís Waffle Shop, Cloud "7" Hotel, Catalina Island Vacation
Rentals, Honda Federal Credit Union, Sea Dreams, Subsalive,
the Bottom Scratcher, Chammyz, Dive boat Aquatica, Hirozon Charters,
Catalina Scuba Luv, Catalina Divers Supply, Scuba Pro, Truth
Aquatics, Ikelite, Deep Outdoors, scuba.com, Catalina Cylinders,
OMS, Cochran Consulting, ScubaPro/UWATEC, JW Fishers, DEPP,
and many more who I donít want to slight just because I canít
remember everyone off the top of my head. The prizes were amazing
and every diver thanks the sponsors profusely. The prizes donated
by the sponsors are one of the things that make this event so
successful and so well attended. The diverís thank you, the
event organizers thank you, the marine life of Catalina Island
thanks you. Thank you, thank you, and thank you.
So ended another
great Avalon Underwater Cleanup Event
If you didnít make
it out there this year, be sure to put it on your calendar for
I headed back on
the Catalina Express. They have a great TV monitor system on
the boat. I was hoping they would put on a dive related movie.
Instead we watched a half hour of the Oreck infomercial followed
by "All in the Family". The Catalina Express is the only game
in town now, and, maybe it is showing.
Until next time.....
(Which if the weather holds is the Sea
Divers trip to Nic. next weekend) Remember not to litter
in Avalon Harbor - that is unless it is your oldest coins and
your most beautiful jewelry.