Catalina Hyperbaric Chamber



July 2004
August 04
Lady Washington
Bahamas Dive
Catalina Chamber


Back in April 2007,

While working on my advanced open water SCUBA cert, I found out about the Catalina Hyperbaric Chamber and that they ran on a volunteer crew.  I took a trip out there for their EDAM or Emergency Dive Accident Management class.  After the class there was a chamber crew class.  I am currently an intern crew member for the Chamber. 

The Catalina Chamber is a joint effort between USC and LA county to provide a recompression chamber for treatment of dive related emergencies.  It is located in Two Harbors, Catalina Island off the coast of CA.

I have been traveling out there about once every other month to crew the chamber and stand by for whatever may happen.  Once on island your room is provided in an apartment set aside for the chamber crew. APT 110 is a single bedroom apt with 2 sets of queen size bunk beds and most the comforts of home.  Only drawback is food is not provided.  You can pay bout $23/day or bring your own.  I am finding it tough to pack food with me for my trip but I am getting better.  Mac N Cheese is very portable.

The USC Wrigley Center is built in an old Navy base that was used for undersea research and housed a rescue sub.  The old Sub hanger now houses the big blue chamber.

During the class we learned all about the theories of compression and decompressions effects on the body, theories of gas laws and how they interact with the body and treatment of dive related emergencies.

We also got to get pressed!  I did 2 pressure runs in the chamber during that class.  One only to about 60 feet and another to 165 feet.  Wow, I have never had Nitrogen Narcosis before.  it is quite an interesting feeling.  It was similar to the feeling I had in the hypobaric (low pressure) chamber I was in while in the Coast Guard.  All personnel in the chamber were giddy and kind of drunk.  We also had a few manipulative skills to try and they were a bit tough.  It is funny that once depressurized a bit of the feeling lingered for a few hours.  The director of the chamber then did a quick Doppler reading on our subclavian veins to see if there was any bubble formations.  I was clear but one of the other riders did have at least on bubble sound. 





This site was last updated 10/04/07