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Posted by jlyle on February 26, 2007 at 16:24:26:

In Reply to: new camera posted by Margaret on December 23, 2006 at 11:08:12:

Once a year, in the month of February, the Catalina Conservancy Divers host the annual Avalon Harbor Clean Up. Divers from all over Southern California and beyond gather in Avalon, Catalina Island, to participate in an underwater clean up. The proceeds from the clean up help to support the hyperbaric chamber located on the island.

Early Friday morning, Deborah and I drove down to the Catalina Express landing in San Pedro to board the early morning boat to the island. Scott and Margaret were going to bring the Popeye Maru over with all of our dive gear. Friday morning was not a good time to be on the water, the seas were 8-10 feet and the wind was howling out of the west.

Margaret called us on the cell phone to tell us that they had to turn around and head back to the harbor, conditions were so rough. Later, Scott told me that he let Marge make the call - "should we be out here?" Margaret is a die hard diver; if Scott had turned the boat around, he would have heard about it all w/e. Anyway, they quickly grabbed their clothes & cameras before heading to the Express landing to follow us to the island.

With all of the dive gear left on the boat in Redondo, we were going to have a dry w/e! Oh, well, any excuse to play with the cameras. What follows is a photo essay on the clean up w/e without any u/w pictures.

Note the red warning flad and the wind sock!

We stayed at the Pavilion Lodge - upscale accommodations!

Scott

During the Winter (off season) Avalon is empty on weekdays. Soon the streets would be filled with divers.

One of the icons of Avalon is the Green Pier - very photogenic


The Casino building - never used as a casino, the building contains a movie theater and a large dance floor on the top story.

Favorite breakfast spots in Avalon:

Divers started to appear, signing up for the clean up.

Raffle tickets!

Briefing

The infamous (or famous depending on who you ask) Dr. Bill - a denizon of Avalon.

This is the most important person on the island this w/e. Jill is in charge and the person to thank for making it all come together.

Some of you may know Elaine - This is a revenge shot; Elaine is always pointing a camera in someones face on a dive boat! Payback.

While the divers suit up and get ready for the signal to begin the clean up, We hiked up Hermit Canyon behind Avalon to visit the Botanical Garden. Hey, I didn't have my dive gear; it was still in Redondo, remember?

Toyon is endemic to Catalina Island

Trash from the bottom of the harbor.

The Wrigleys (of Wrigley's chewing gum) used to own the Island before deeding most of it to the Conservancy. Their house is now a B & B, the Inn at Mt. Ida.

The awards ceremony and raffle drawing:

Of course divers have to eat and drink after their hard work:

And don't forget dessert at Big Olaf's!

Sunday, many divers flocked to the Marine Park, near the casino building.

Margaret

The air van:

Been there, done that.

Don

Bird pictures:

Red-headed woodpeckers

An LLB (little brown bird)

There used to be a thriving tile industry on the island, producing beautiful tile, some of which can still be seen in town.

And finally, a short story. Tim is, or maybe I should say, was a friend of ours. We were sitting in the Catalina Cantina after the clean up, sipping a favorite beverage when we spied Tim pushing his gear through town. He parked his dolly nearby and went into the Busy Bee for lunch. Scott left the table, walked over to Tim's gear and boldly made off with it. We waited for Tim to finish his lunch, pay his bill, and then step outside the restaurant...where's my stuff? He was a good sport about it, didn't point us out to the cops or anything.

Until next year.




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