California Technical Diving: It’s the Catalina Wine Mixer

I have been on a cold water dive kick lately. It sounds kind of ridiculous being that I live in Hawai’i. Still, I have had this urge to use my dry suit to not just stay dry, but warm as well! Last month we dove Lake Tahoe for a New Year’s dive, epic as always! This month I decided to spend a weekend on Santa Catalina off the coast of Southern California. Being an small island of just over four thousand residents, Catalina is a huge dive destination. The remarkably clear waters and plentiful sea life are no doubt the reason for probably tens of thousands of divers a year headed to the island of Catalina alone, not to mention the other Channel Islands.

Growing up on the coast of Southern California, I loved when the day was clear enough to see the islands. They always drew my buddies and I in as we paddled out to surf. Now, a possibly obsessive diver, I dive the Channel Islands at least once a year. This year was the first time I have been back to Catalina though in over a decade.

A lot has changed, from a tourists point of view I think it is amazing. Avalon, the main port town, has nothin but love for divers. Dive charters going out every day, classes ran by both the shop on island or shops back on the mainland, and a pretty sweet dive park! Casino Point was the focus of this trip and after checking in to our dive friendly hotel and the local dive shop, it was time to get wet! There was an abundance of sea life, from garibaldi to sheepshead, harbor seals to boat wrecks. You can spend a well planned weekend at the dive park and not get bored!

Whether you are planning on doing open or closed circuit. Recreational or technical, Catalina Divers Supply was amazing to work with! They had oxygen and diluent bottles for closed circuit rebreather divers to rent as well as scrubber (buy by the pound). Yoke and din valves tanks, dry suit and wet accessories. As a traveling instructor they are the perfect support shop, in my honest opinion. I am truly amazed by what they had and were willing to do to make our diving more enjoyable.

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