Nut Bucket Films

storm chasing…saving the planet in Catalina

In Uncategorized on March 6, 2011 at 11:09 am

the Elephant keeps me safe through the storm...

A week ago today I got a text from my buddy Mike at 5:55am saying that we couldn’t make the trip.  The winds were going to be too nasty and there was a small-craft-advisory in effect.  I was pissed.  I was let down.  I had been waiting for this trip to Catalina for two months.  I was ready.  I had a new scuba mask, tried on Mike’s extra wetsuit, packed some apples and almonds, and got all my work done so I could actually enjoy the two days instead of freaking out for not being in L.A. getting my hustle on.

But instead I go back to sleep because Mike says it’s not good to go.  I woke up at 9am and looked outside to see blue skies with clouds and NO WIND.  I was like WTF!  I called Mike and said, “Let’s do this man!  We can make it.”  After a little back and forth we mutually decided to risk it.  Why not?  Avalon harbor needed us.  We signed up to clean up the bottom of the ocean.  Can’t let the earth down.  Turns out, Mike was just looking out for me and didn’t want us to get stuck there and not be able to come home until Tuesday.  That wouldn’t fly.  I had a Red Wings/Kings game Monday night that was extremely necessary to attend.

So we were off.  About five hours behind schedule.  The weather wasn’t looking good but we charged it anyway.  After gassing up the boat it started raining and it was like friggin’ storm chasers except the storm was chasing us.  It looked nasty but we were heading into nicer weather, we hoped.

the weather wasn't great, but we made it

It took us about two hours to get to the island and Avalon Harbor.  The mooring was a nightmare.  The current in the Harbor is ridiculous.  Mike said it was the worst he had ever experienced.  I was responsible for getting us hooked on the mooring so Mike would position the boat while I had to pull this stick with the rope on it onto the boat and tie it on to the front and then quickly shimmy down to the end of the boat with the rope to hook the next part on all while the rope was trying to rip me from the boat.  Freaking nightmare.  I swear the rope almost ripped my hands off the first time.  And then the rope almost wrapped my legs up and took me down with it.  I had the weight of a 15 ton boat pulling against me and for some reason I thought I was strong enough to  carry the load.  A mini-hercules.  Dumbass.  On our fourth try we got it.  That was it.  We were there.  Time to chill.

The weather was getting worse so after a quick break we headed into town for some food Mexican food from Mi Casita.  A quick re-fule of food energy and we were headed to the local pub to watch some hoops and get out of the rain.  J L’s Locker Room was the choice.  Mike has a history there and knew the guys working so it was a nice start.  The place was definitely weird though.  Super grunge and this is where the local drunkards hang but its the only spot to watch sports.  You win some you lose some.  We stayed there and hung for a while before we headed back to the boat to get the gear ready for the early morning clean-up on Saturday.

The ride back to the boat was nuts.  The rain is pouring now and we are in a dingy.  Hilarious actually.  Soaked.  Two minutes back at the boat and we decide to weather the storm back to town for pizza.  I guess when you’re on vacation all you do is eat and drink.  Antonio’s was the spot.  We dined.  We grubbed.  And then we passed the f#$k out on Mike’s boat.  Clothes were soaked and bellies were full.

this is the entry for Saturday's dive

My alarm was going off from 6:30am until 8am on Saturday morning.  Every ten minutes.  I was waiting for Mike to get up.  He was supposed to be the responsible diver.  Turns out he thought I was having a loving text conversation the whole time.  I was pressing snooze ya dumbass waiting for you to get up!  We get up at 8:15.  We were supposed to check in at 8.  We hop on the dingy and in about 45 minutes we managed to make two trips back and forth from the beach, rent gear for me, haul all his shit from the boat, check in, miss the safety speech, and get in the water with scuba gear on five minutes past 9:30.  Right on f#$%in’ time!  No food or water though.  Not good.  BUT, the weather was amazing.  Bluebird skies.  I guess it was raining all day in L.A.

We dove around with about 200 other divers and cleaned up the Harbor.  I found a fishing pole and used it as an underwater sword for my dive.  You never know what you will run into out there.  We found a battery but it was too heavy.  Probably the most important thing to clean up and we left it there.  I am ashamed.  But there was no way to carry it.  Seriously.  At the end of the dive or should I say when my air was almost gone, I was cruising into this school of fish and the light was hitting it just perfect and then all of the sudden I felt like I was in a dream and tripping on acid and suddenly I have no sense of direction or reality and BAM!  Mike is gone.  Rule is, you look around for a minute and if you can’t find your “buddy” you head to surface.  I felt pretty safe in the Harbor so I looked for about three minutes and couldn’t find him and I was out of air.  I surfaced.  Mike had surfaced after a minute and I could see him when I got up about 200 yards away.  He wasn’t the happiest.  And some kayaker kept asking me if I was Bill…I said no…hope Bill was ok.

after the dive. complete sense of accomplishment

The dive was over.  There was so much trash that everyone cleaned up.  It was pretty amazing.  And we felt like we accomplished something.  We gave back a little to the planet.  Validates the next twelve hours of celebrating.  WOOHOO!

I will spare you the details but I will tell you where to get some good food and see a site or two..

Locals best burger choice:  CONEY ISLAND

-I thought is was good.  We were starving though.  I would have eaten the ass out of a donkey.  Onion rings were superb.  We actually got it take-out and ate it in J L’s.  You can bring food into J L’s

Tom's bar

Tom’s pick:  THE SANDTRAP

-cool bar and good peoples

Mike’s pick:  J L’s LOCKER ROOM

-he just loves getting wasted here.  I love the sports.  And the bartenders know your name after one day on the island.  Tom pours pints for cocktails.  And they are $4.  Like a sore peter.  Can’t beat it.

Lije’s best burger:  THE LOBSTER TRAP

-the thing was unreal.  piled with blue cheese!  Freaking awesome.  Cool bartenders and a good crowd too.  Happening spot.  5 stars.


the walk to Wrigley

-I guess the Cubs used to have spring training here.  Pretty green walk up the hill and I guess there is nice hiking back here.  Next time.  The museum was closed but the walk was nice.  Good after sitting in J L’s for hours.  And enough time to get a new bartender when you get back to J L’s.

That’s basically the trip.  Some things I will keep private of course as you probably don’t want to know that I listened to that song “Falling Slowly” from the movie Once on repeat while I fell asleep Saturday night.  And there are a couple more things I will spare you from.

I was I am found...again inspired...and a new pal

There are some more pics below.  Enjoy…

Lije and NBF.  We did it again.  Good times Mike.  We are returning the end of April, I guess.

Oh I almost forgot.  I had to man the boat on the way home.  Here is a taste…a video below…

see the snow on the mountains from the storm?

more beauty from the island...view from boat

the raffle after the "clean-up"

everything is tiny on the island

the ocean ride home!


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