The sun struggled to break through the clouds as 400 divers hit the water February 21 for the 28th annual Avalon Underwater Cleanup. The event not only scours trash from the Avalon Harbor area but also serves as a fund-raiser for both the Catalina Conservancy Divers and the Catalina Hyperbaric Chamber. Remembering the abysmal conditions from 2008, divers were very glad to find 15-20′ vis and 55° water.

A fun aspect of the event is seeing what trash comes up. Very impressive this year (and indicative of a healthy ecosystem) considering the number of octopi that came crawling out of bottles and other debris brought up by the divers. And in the true spirit of ecology all the cephalopods were returned to a safe place in the ocean by the pilings of the Green Pier.

Perhaps the most amazing find was a Blackberry. The find in and of itself wasn’t that unusual, but the fact that the owner was hanging out in hopes someone would find it (it had been underwater for about three weeks) was topped only by the fact that he pulled his the old submerged SIM card, popped it in his new Blackberry, and it still worked.

When all was said and done, the participating divers managed to bring up over two tons of trash, and raised $18,000.