The 20th annual Chamber Day 2008 broke all previous records with a staggering $120,168 raised for the Catalina Hyperbaric Chamber. The event, which was held on May 7, consists of Chamber Day, Chamber Evening (held at the Aquarium of the Pacific and celebrating its 10th incarnation), the Chamber Challenge, daytime and evening raffles, and blind-bid auctions.

Divers, 227 in all,  journeyed to Catalina as part of the daytime festivities, which featured two dives and a walking tour of the Chamber facilities at Big Fisherman’s Cove and also included getting a chance to talk with Baywatch and Sheriff’s rescue personnel (including an up-close look at Air-5, the L.A. County Sheriff’s huge rescue helicopter), as well as going inside the Chamber and being pressurized to a depth of one-foot. In addition, 97 divers signed up for the Flying Dutchman, the mythical boat for those who can’t actually attend the event.

Ninety-nine people contributed to the Chamber Challenge (including three Platinum donors at $5,000 each— Michael Kane,, and The Deep/RVM & Associates) for grand total of $51,520 for the Challenge alone, easily making it the most successful challenge ever held.

At 7 p.m. the doors of the Aquarium opened to admit 500 diners who enjoyed all that the Aquarium has to offer, along with a fabulous meal served under the life-sized Blue Whale in the Great Hall of the Pacific. Many thank yous and acknowledgments were announced and more raffle prizes were collected.

It was also during this part of the day that Chamber Day Chairman Ken Kurtis told the crowd that, for the first time ever, one of the daytime participants had apparently suffered a bends hit following his dive and was being treated in the Chamber while the evening was underway. Ken told the crowd that the treatment was going successfully and that the man should expect full resolution. But it also pointed out the need for our Chamber, which stands ready to treat divers 24/7/365.

The evening culminated with Chamber Director Karl Huggins being presented with a mock check for $120,168 and Karl thanking the crowd and inviting everyone to attend Chamber Day 2009, which will be held on May 6, 2009.