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

Two Harbors Dive & Recreation Center/Banning House, Oct, 2011,

by Larry Clinton, CA, US ( 1 report). Report 6353.

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

Weather cloudy Seas calm
Water Temp 60 to 64 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 7
Water Visibility 30 to 40 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions None.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? no

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals N/A Tropical Fish N/A
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish N/A
Large Pelagics N/A

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments 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):

Accommodations 5 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 2 stars Shore Diving 2 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 3 stars
Beginners 2 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments 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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