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Dive Review of Two Harbors Dive & Recreation Center/Banning House in
The Continental USA/Catalina Isthmus

October, 2011, an Instant Reader Report by Larry Clinton, CA, US (1 report)
Report Number 6353
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
Over 1000 dives
Where else diving
Atlantic, Pacific, Caribbean, Mediterranean, Gulf of Mexico, Sea of Cortez,
Central America, etc;
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

Water Temp
60   to 64    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
30   to 40    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Tropical Fish
Small Critters
  4 stars
Large Fish
Large Pelagics
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
4 stars  
Boat Facilities
3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
Shore Facilities  
Last year, I reported on an October 2009 dive trip to Isthmus Cove on the
west end of Catalina., facing Long Beach.  Arriving just after the end of
tourist season, our group had the dive shop -- Two Harbors Dive &
Recreation Center  pretty much to ourselves.  That meant we could request
when their 45-foot dive boat, the Garibaldi, would take us out, where wed
go, and how many dives each of us wanted to do.  Dive sites were so close
we were back on shore for lunch, and afterward those who wanted to do an
afternoon dive could get back on board. They went back out with as few as
two divers.
So we went  back last October with a larger group, only to find that the
shop has lost the 24-passenger Garibaldi when it failed to meet Coast Guard
inspection standards.  Instead, each day they had to bring over a
30-station cattle boat from Avalon, which couldnt offer the flexibility of
dives and site selections we had enjoyed two years before.
All trips were two-tank dives, but the boats daily arrival and departure
schedules made afternoon trips out of the question.  Instead, we did one
late-morning dive, had lunch on board during our surface interval, and then
finished our second dive each day. Those who opted not to make the second
dive still paid the two-dive rate ($110 including lunch, drinks and snacks)
and had to stay aboard until the others finished.
The King Neptune, provided by Catalina Scuba Luv, is a basic 30-station
dive boat, but even with just 15 divers aboard, the aft dive deck felt
crowded and hectic.  That may be because only a few benches are provided. 
Most people suited up leaning against somethingor each other -- then
tottered to a side gate in full gear for a giant stride entry.  Being 71, I
played the codger card and asked for help with my gear while sitting on the
fantail.  Then, I just had to stand up and fall off the swim step to start
my dives.  The crew was very accommodating and helpful at all times.
Skies were overcast throughout our stay, so the diving wasnt quite as
spectacular as two years ago, but photographers were still happily
one-upping each other with stories of cooperative critters lurking among
the kelp.
We stayed at the Banning House, a 100-year-old Craftsman-style home that
has morphed into a cozy 12-room lodge with stunning views and beautiful
hiking trails.  Some hikers had close encounters with bison and other
terrestrial wonders.  
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
2 stars  
Shore Diving  
2 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
3 stars    
2 stars   
3 stars    
We all agreed to return soon, hopefully when Two Harbors Dive &
Recreation Center gets a new boat.
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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