Editor’s note: This terrific couple -- Geoff Walsh and Sue St. Sure -- have been volunteering with us for about two years. They were introduced to us by our longtime fabulous diver Kim Cardenas. Geoff is a highly skill technical diver, and has been helping with boat maintenance and repairs in addition to the diving. Sue is indispensable on deck and RIB crew! It’s a joy defending the oceans with these two!
By Volunteer Geoff Walsh
Even though California, like most of the rest of the US, is on a pretty tight lockdown due to the coronavirus, we practiced serious social distancing to take Mr. Barker's LegaSea out of the slip to make sure everything was still ship shape and functional after many weeks of being unable to go out.
We've never had to show the entire crew in three separate pictures, but...in these unusual times...HERE THEY ARE:
Kurt Lieber as captain stayed far away from the crew which consisted of me and my wife Sue. The three of us set out for a three-hour tour, to run the engines and search for any debris on the water.
Despite Los Angeles Harbor being virtually absent of boat traffic, the water didn't look particularly clear due to an extensive "red tide" algae bloom.
The ODA crew cruised out the Angel's Gate entrance and headed north, toward Point Vicente. With virtually no recreational fishing boats out, we saw hardly any sea birds, which usually accompany those boats hoping for a free meal from the fishing crew. But with the lack of fishing boats and the waters overwhelmed by the toxic red tide, we saw fewer than a dozen seabirds.
On our way up to Point Vicente, and again coming back to the harbor entrance, we passed the channel marker, where a number of sea lions were sunning themselves on the buoy.
Once back in the harbor, we cruised up one of the channels to check out the Navy hospital ship Mercy docked in San Pedro to serve as overflow for area hospitals in case they were inundated with Covid-19 cases. We also passed the battleship Iowa, which normally has dozens of tourists on it, but none for the time being. Here we show the Mercy, but be sure to see the Iowa in our photo gallery below!
The lockdown looked to be taking a toll on all harbor operations, as most of the cranes used for unloading container ships sat idle. We noticed a lot less trash floating in the harbor due to quarantine in place restrictions, but still managed to scoop up the better part of a large trash can's worth on our way back to the LegaSea slip.
All in all, we had a brief but successful outing, ensuring everything on the LegaSea still functioned while picking up some harbor trash in the process.
Once social distancing restrictions are relaxed, we'll be ready to go to continue our interrupted plans to survey the LA Harbor breakwall for abandoned lobster traps and remove them. Lobster season ended in March and we have been unable to get out since then, so there’s certain to be derelict traps there, still posing a threat to marine life.