LA Underwater Explorers – – “Ghost Net” clean-up dive – wreck of the M/V Infidel – Catalina Island, California

Forming New Millennium Dive Expeditions (NMDE) back in 1999, a scientific entity allowing members to participate in meaningful, community minded and environmentally focused activities, is one of the proudest accomplishments we have achieved.  Our initial mission, focused solely upon Lake Tahoe, took 100% of our efforts early on; we…did not get out much…so to speak.  As our efforts on the SS Tahoe began to end, we became involved with Global Underwater Explorers (GUE) Project Baseline in order to maintain our involvement with Tahoe’s underwater environmental issues.  Our vision then began to diversify and being a part of this global endeavor we are beginning to meet other passionate organizations and people that are also focused and dedicated towards their environmental causes.  Now they are sharing their missions with us.  This has given us the opportunity to expand and broaden our awareness and understanding of other environments; learning that will help us better our work in Tahoe; a win/win for all.
On Memorial Day, 2015, NMDE divers Martin M. and Todd K. traveled to Southern California to join the Los Angeles Underwater Explorers (LAUE) on an environmental dive like no other we have ever participated.  LAUE is managing  The latter organization was formed to eliminate these “ghost fishing nets” from the ocean environments where “net” fishing methods have been employed.  These abandoned nets that have become snagged upon underwater obstacles need to go!  We can write 10,000 words but two pictures I think will explain:
PHOTO from 2012

The above photo is from 2012 (the beginning of this project), on the wreck of the Infidel, southern end of Catalina Island off the southern California coast.  It rests in 150 feet of water and is covered in squid nets.  Nets that are “ghost” fishing and killing helpless sea creatures.  It is important to note in this image, all the netting hanging from the mast. 

PHOTO from 2015

The above photo from 2015 is the same mast, after hundreds of man hours of effort and the removal of over 5000 pounds of nets since 2012; same wrecksite, same mast, no nets!  A very powerful statement of the work they have done

These photos demonstrate the perfect example of  Project Baseline’s mission.  A hugely dedicated group of volunteer divers that have observed and recorded “change” that they personally brought about as a result of their passion for the oceans.  They have removed this 5000 pounds of net during the past 3 years and our involvement allowed us to realize that they have 80% of the work remaining in order to remove the final 20% of the net that remains.  
Our journey from Reno began at 4 am on 24 May, 2015 as we departed for Los Angeles, California.   Arriving at the home of our Hosts, Karim and Heather H. around 1pm, we were treated to an incredible lunch and by 3 pm we began the 4 hour task of setting up our equipment for the following days dive adventure.  Finishing around 7 pm and being extremely tired, we all turned in with a 4 am wake-up call coming up quickly!
Memorial Day came fast, especially when it begins so early.  We tossed down some grub and hit the road for Long Beach Harbor where the boat, Asante (click to see all about the Asante), was awaiting our arrival.  After loading and about a 90 minute boat ride, we were ready to enter the water directly above the wrecksite of the Infidel (click for complete explanation of why the Infidel is here).  There were 3 dive teams this day consisting of 7 divers, 4 top side support and 2 crew – The following 4 minute video is the visual story of the work we did (pause it at the end to see the credits – those that volunteered their time and their duties are listed):

Todd and I did a 3 hour profile and enjoyed decompression watching a bunch of animal life pass by and enjoyed a very cool treat in that about 5 sea lions swam with us and played with us for about 60 minutes –  never getting too close but curious for sure. We then climbed back aboard the Asante, gathered all our divers and equipment and headed back to the harbor to unload…
The Team taking pause with our catch and our gear soon to be loaded and taken home
Today’s quantity of net recovered was not very big.  The reason is because the remaining net is in very difficult locations, covered in heavy rope and pieces of wreckage and remember it is at 150 feet of water where breathing gas goes fast and decompression time accumulates even faster.  There is much more work to be done.  We hope that you will support this effort we share with you so you can do your part to insure the Infidel becomes a healthy artificial reef environment for all the critters of Catalina Island, California. 
An exciting aspect of this adventure is that there were representatives from New Millennium Dive Expeditons, Project Baseline, Global Underwater Explorers, Project Baseline: Lake Tahoe, Los Angeles Underwater Explorers, Las Vegas Underwater Explorers and  It is powerful how protecting and caring for the environment can bring so many great people and organizations together.  It was great to meet so many outstanding divers, their family and friends. 
To learn more on the destructive force that these nets possess, visit our Affiliate Page at and view the “Fact Sheet” we have put there next to the link.