If you are a SCUBA diver in California, you have probably heard about the beautiful Island of Catalina. It is one Island in a chain of Islands known as the Channel Islands off the coast of Southern California.
Catalina is the most populated of all the Channel Islands and hosts a large variety of marine species waiting to be discovered! I was fortunate enough to spend much of my childhood on Catalina as my family had a residence there. My first job was taking snorkeling tours in Lovers Cove and working at Catalina Divers Supply.
As soon as my sinuses and age allowed me, I became SCUBA certified in the beautiful Marine Preserve of Casino Point and proceeded to explore the Island underwater.
Every year at the end of February, hundreds of divers are invited to participate in the Avalon Harbor Underwater Cleanup. Imagine a beach cleanup, underwater and you have a pretty good idea of what we do.   What makes this event a little different is, unlike a beach cleanup, we discover very unusual finds that are attributed to the thousands of boaters that inhabit the harbor from Memorial Day thru Labor Day. While boating is a great pass time, many objects fall overboard!
This cleanup is the only time that divers are permitted to dive in the harbor and we remove tons of trash each year.
I use the term trash lightly. The trash brought up includes a large variety of useless items but also some expensive and priceless items as well! Many antique glass bottles and pottery have been brought up along with watches, jewelry and even wallets!
To make the cleanup more enjoyable, there are contests held for different items brought up; smallest, most expensive, most preverted (which I was the first recipient of), most romantic, oldest, newest, and more! If you happen to be a good storyteller, there is a reward called the BS Award, where the best story made from the trash found, wins a prize. If you are lucky to find a white ceramic plate with writing on it, you are the winner of the item written on the plate from the best Italian Restaurant on the Island, Antonio's Pizzeria.
Additional to the trash contests, you can buy raffle tickets to win some of the thousands of dollars worth of prizes donated to help out the cause.
All proceeds raised go to the Hyperbaric Chamber that resides in Two Harbors that saves divers lives every year!
If this sounds like it would make a great weekend getaway this year, please join us on February 23rd, 2013. Even if you don't dive, it is a weekend full of fun on one of the most beautiful Islands in the world!
Please join us and have a great time while supporting a great cause!