Re: "Annual Buffalo Bath" at Two Harbors

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Posted by Ken Kurtis on April 02, 2008 at 10:25:41:

In Reply to: "Annual Buffalo Bath" at Two Harbors posted by Gerry Smith on April 02, 2008 at 08:56:26:

For those wondering what Gerry is talking about (casting aspertions on my sanity notwithstanding), the following appeared in the Reef Seekers monthly newsletter yesterday. Coincidentally, the date of the newsletter is April 1.

Most people know that there is a herd of buffalo that roam the interior of Catalina. Many people know that the buffalo were brought over in 1924 for a movie shoot and then were left there to freely roam the island. But very few people know about the annual Catalina Island Buffalo Swim.

This is how the Catalina Island Conservancy (charged with looking after the herd) annually bathes the buffalo. The buffalo wade in at the Isthmus and are herded around the water for almost an hour which gets them really clean and they’re good to go for another year.

Normally, the Catalina Conservancy Divers has the task of helping herd the buffalo around while they’re in the water but this year, their divers are not available. So the Conservancy has put out a call to divers who are willing to help out. You’ll get a free ride on the Catalina Express from San Pedro to the Isthmus. And then you’ll be directed to the buffalo entry area (you’ll fill out some waivers on the way over) where you’ll enter the water and then they’ll guide the buffalo in.

The dive entails herding the buffalo around the harbor (all boat traffic will be stopped) and occasionally giving them a scrub (especially legs and hooves - that’s why they need divers) with brushes that will be provided by the Conservancy. Also, because the buffalo have so much body fat and are buoyant, occasionally they get into water too deep and start to float. So another aspect of the job is a willingness to push against the buffalo while kicking and get them back into shallower water where they can stand. (Sometimes this takes two or three divers.)

The whole thing takes about an hour and once you’re done, lunch will be provided (ironically, they’ll be serving Buffalo Burgers), and you’ll even have an opportunity to d another dive in the Harbor before boarding an afternoon Express boat for the ride back to San Pedro.

A specific date is not set yet because it will be based on the divers available on a given day, but they’d like to do this in the next two or three weeks. And this is something where they have to limit the number of divers involved, so space is truly limited.

If you’re interested, give the Conservancy a call at (number omitted to spare Gerry further phone calls). Have fun!!!

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