Catalina Island

Here's Your Chance to Dive (and Do Good) at Avalon Bay

Join the Avalon Harbor Underwater Cleanup and swim in an area that's closed to divers, save one day a year.

Matthew Micah Wright

What to Know

  • Saturday, Feb. 22
  • 500+ divers participate
  • "(T)he only time scuba diving is allowed in Avalon Bay"

Spring is often the time when we slip into our waders, or at least the old sneakers that we don't mind getting sloshy. Then? We walk into our local waterways, or along them, picking up all sorts of cups and bags and random bits of detritus.

If you've ever helped clean the Los Angeles River, you know that this is a rewarding activity, one that helps the animals and ecology of the area. But there are other watery places that need our attention and care, including Avalon Bay.

And on Saturday, Feb. 22 hundreds of volunteer divers will suit up to splash down into the Catalina Island-close ocean, all to collect the stuff that goes overboard, or somehow finds its way to the bottom of the bay.

It's the 39th Annual Avalon Harbor Underwater Cleanup, a shine-up-the-bay event helmed by USC's Catalina Hyperbaric Chamber and the Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies — Catalina Conservancy Divers.

"This is the only time scuba diving is allowed in Avalon Bay," is the word from the Catalina Island Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau, which means that plenty of divers head over from the mainland, all to help out and get a look at what's under the bay's oft-photographed surface.

An awards ceremony will follow the event.

How to register?

Registration will be open on the day of the event, so head to the Wrigley Stage to sign up. And, yep: You'll need to book and buy your passage to the island, and back home again.

So what's on the bottom of the iconic harbor? Probably quite a few items that need to come out, all to help the harbor's hale character and health, and all of the animals that call it home.

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