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News and Media

News and Media

By Founder and President Kurt Lieber

It finally looks like the winter rains are behind us, so we’re now gearing up for a busy spring and summer trap-pulling season.

The waves have still been big, at 4-6 feet, so the underwater visibility is pretty bad at less than 10 feet.  But we decided to take our flagship Mr. Barker’s LegaSea out to do some more training. Just last week, we trained five volunteers on boat handling and RIB launching. In addition to having excellent procedures, we need to constantly be training new volunteers and expanding the skills of veteran crew.

ODA Divers Kim and ShaniLeft to right: ODA Divers Kim Cardenas and Shani Tennyson

I was joined by ODA volunteers Kim Cardenas, Jeff Connor, Lisa Davis, and Shani Tennyson. We headed for Cabrillo Beach to get Shani trained on how to operate a DPV (Diver Propulsion Vessel) otherwise known as a “underwater scooter.”

These devices allow our divers to cover up to five times more distance than they could if they we only using their fins for propulsion.

Example of ODA divers using scootersExample of ODA divers using scooters

Kim has hundreds of dives using these scooters, so she gladly jumped in with Shani to show her the ropes, and off they went!

Shani splashing!Shani splashing!

On a side note, we just purchased a new motor for our new RIB.  The motor is powered by propane rather than your conventional gas power.  These propane motors emit 90% LESS emissions than a gas engine.  So, we are delighted to be part of the solution to less pollution.

Jeff jumped in the RIB to try it out, and after getting a feel for how it handled, he took off like a rocket.  He was doing 17 miles-per-hour and that was not even at full throttle.  Nice!

Kim and Shani made their way to the breakwall to see if they could find any debris to remove while Shani got used to handling the scooter.  They dropped down in the water only to find out they couldn’t see very far, and therefore couldn’t find anything to remove.  Not surprising given the circumstances.

Debris removal training

They surfaced near the wall to get their bearings on where the LegaSea was, and Jeff headed over to them to see if they needed any help.  They didn’t – they were fine – and scooted back to the boat.

It was great to get some more training done, and we were treated to the sights of several gray whales in the area.  Unfortunately, they were too far away to get any kind of good pictures, but this is definitely a perk of being an Ocean Defender! If you can join us on one of our debris-removal outings in either California or Hawai’i, we’d be glad to have you and happy to share in the great sightings of marine wildlife.

Volunteer Kim on LegaSea

We have so much debris-cleanup work to do! We’re slated to go out to Palos Verdes next weekend to go hunting for abandoned traps.

Please wish us well and if you can, please help fill the boat’s gas tank by making a contribution! Every dollar is carefully stewarded for a debris-free sea. Thank you!