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  • December 30, 2015

    Female SCUBA Diver Missing Off Of Ship Rock, Catalina Island

    Thank you, Professional Debriefer Paul for bringing these articles to my attention.

    Apparently, a 45 year old woman was diving off of the Sundiver Express on Tuesday at Ship Rock and went missing.

    She was wearing, according to one of the articles, a black wet suit and a white tank.

    Quotes from the two articles, listed below:

    “The diver was reported missing just before noon about three miles away off the island near Ship Rock, an area popular with divers, according to Lifeguard Specialist Lidia Barillas of the Lifeguards Division of the Los Angeles County Fire Department.”

    “The Coast Guard sent a 45-foot patrol boat, a helicopter and the cutter Narwhal to assist in the search for the woman, whose name was not released.”

    The articles goes on to state that you should never solo dive and to always dive within your limits and have your equipment serviced.

    However, there was no speculation that she was diving alone or comments on her equipment or skill level.

    For those of you who are not familiar with the California diving culture, the Dive Masters do not conduct underwater tours – on any boat that I have been on.

    You simply check out when you jump overboard and check in when you come back; the Dive Master simply accounts for the divers and responds to any emergency on the surface, or reports anyone who doesn’t come back.

    I am not going to speculate, and hope she is found alive and well.

    Original articles are here:

    Search continues for female scuba diver missing off Catalina Island

    Scuba Diver Missing Off Catalina Island

    Update January 1, 2016:

    Search launched for woman diving near Catalina Island

    Authorities searched Thursday for a Tustin woman missing since Tuesday while scuba diving near Catalina Island.

    Laurel Silver-Valker, 45, dove into the waters off Ship Rock looking for lobsters when she disappeared, said Sgt. Dave Carver of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

    5 Comments »

    1. I liked Laurel. She was my date for Chamber Night before I met Merry. She was experienced, approaching her 1,000 dive after fifteen years of certification. If the articles are accurate, and they rarely are she was lobster diving. As you know, when lobster diving you tend to breathe hard at times and sometimes get so focused on getting that last bug that you don’t notice how fast you’re going through your tank. I hope that didn’t happen but unless they find her we will never know.
      Merry says I shouldn’t kiss her any more. Three of the female divers I have kissed have died.

      Comment by Max Bottomtime — January 3, 2016 @ 12:59 pm

    2. Well, I hope you haven’t kissed Merry yet.
      I would like to see her around because of the great photos she takes, and she is hot looking. lol

      Comment by dead dog — January 10, 2016 @ 1:33 pm

    3. Nice article about Laurel in the Register today.
      http://www.ocregister.com/articles/silver-699588-valker-diving.html

      Comment by Max Bottomtime — January 13, 2016 @ 11:21 am

    4. Now they’re saying she was left behind while the boat went to their next site. Ray Arnzt must be having Drifting Dan nightmares all over again.

      Comment by Max Bottomtime — January 14, 2016 @ 4:57 am

    5. Laurel broke me in on Sundiver for DM work that I’d be performing for a newly hired Captain. He was hired and I was his choice, hire him I come with him. Interesting details surrounding the hiring, training, operation styles (of each different captain, dm, deckhands galore,) and Laurel. I wont write long here, as there are some that have judged books by the covers before they ever opened page one of the book. I had been out of work for close to 10 yrs, and part time living on the streets of LA, somebody picked me up, let me live at his house, to give me a chance to start again. He was the captain Sundiver hired, and they seemed to like him, I didn’t like his strict demand of his Dive Master’s diligent requirements, they were the most double covered in names, appearances in apparel, times in the water, times out and names, helping anyone and any rescues, and I did if fact give 3 guys who dived once a year a tour, from my Captains referral, they dropped their Go Pro camera in 75′in the kelp. I might of had 200psi in an 80 with a locked up knee, I found their camera.

      I liked the casual usual crowd Dive Master duties that Sundiver practiced of which Laurel was a part of giving me the examples.To me they were far less strict yet were based on known regulars attending the dives. My captain objected to that formula, even calling me out in front of the filled boat from a mistake I made on day 1 at catalina island with 3 divers still under water, I had visual contact with them, I just didn’t know who they were and how long they’d been in the water. My response was, “I’ll know in a minute.” That was my last day, and his also, based on what appeared to me was inadequate rounded training or plain experience in some of the young deckhand/(Laurel called them Munchkins)that were strangely injured on a personal dive they were well qualified for, yet were lost in attempting it. It was company policy to place the blame on my captian. Anyone that has met Laurel, knows she’s a very rare beautiful personality. If it hasn’t dawned on everyone yet, her last dive, she never returned from, a rescue attempt may have not even been performed, if the boat was miles away before noticing her missing. Our employment position was Sundiver Express, it would have been us that day. Of course Laurel may not have went out with us, but if she did, I would of been dispatched within a minute of her not surfacing at her expected time of arrival. I wouldn’t say the crew of Sundiver didn’t do all they could do perfectly, that day or anyday. I wasn’t there, and I wished I was.

      Comment by h2Ocean — January 19, 2016 @ 10:49 pm

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