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Diver goes missing off Cape Mendocino-Cal


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#1 onokai

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 11:07 PM

This is in my backyard-they just called off the search with no luck. Mark Cortright

March 19, 2007 4:48 pm US/Pacific

Coast Guard Searches For Missing Bay Area Diver
(BCN) The U.S. Coast Guard Monday expanded its search for a Bay Area diver and underwater photographer who has been missing for two days.

Kawika Chetron, 35, set out alone on his 17-foot Boston Whaler at 11 a.m. Saturday from Eureka on a planned round-trip to Cape Mendocino, Coast Guard Lt. Stephen Baxter said.

Chetron was expected to return Saturday night but never arrived.

"He told a Good Samaritan where he was going and when he was coming back. A lot of people don't have the smarts to let people know," Baxter said.

The acquaintance notified Coast Guard personnel, who located Chetron's vessel just west of Cape Mendocino with no sign of Chetron either on board or nearby.

The Coast Guard has been searching by air and plane since Saturday night. Today, search and rescue units scoured the coastline from Cape Mendocino to Fort Bragg, Baxter said.

The search includes a fixed wing aircraft from Air Station Sacramento, HH-65 Dolphin helicopters from air stations San Francisco and Humboldt Bay; a 378-foot High Endurance Cutter from San Diego, as well as a patrol boat and life boats.

Rescue crews are hopeful that Chetron's preparation and experience are helping him survive the 55-degree water, Baxter said.

Chetron was wearing a dry suit with a double liner to protect him from the elements.

"It's not like water temperature and air temperature are going to hinder him. He's a super experienced diver and all of his gear is up to speed," Baxter said.

Chetron runs the San Francisco-based Coldwaterimages.com, an underwater photography Web site. The site includes images from his dives along the California Coast, British Columbia, Papua New Guinea and Hawaii.

According to the Web site, Chetron was born in San Anselmo and has spent much of his life there. He attended engineering school at Harvard and Stanford and began photographing his dives in 2004.

Edited by herbko, 20 March 2007 - 09:00 AM.

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#2 LChan

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 08:25 AM

He just spoke at the NCUPS meeting last month.

Nice guy.

Hope they find him.
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#3 herbko

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 08:32 AM

This is terrible. ^_^

I know Kawika. He's extremely knowledgeable and helpful. A great diver and photographer also.
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#4 gecko1

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 09:50 AM

This is really brutal. Kawika is a dear friend of mine. The last email I have from him was a link to the (very nice) weather forecast for the north coast this weekend. This is his typical invitation to go diving. I was diving with the club and couldn't make it. He went anyway. We'd talked many times about the dangers of doing this kind of thing alone but he always seemed to think he could handle whatever came up, and honestly if anybody could he would be the guy. Unfortunately the ocean is bigger and stronger than even the best of us.

He normally wears insanely thick and warm undergarments so maybe he still has a chance. I'm continuing to hope that he's found, very cold and pissed off on a lonely beach up there somewhere but it's getting pretty late for a miracle.

^_^

Clinton

Edited by gecko1, 20 March 2007 - 10:36 AM.

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#5 onokai

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 01:22 PM

This whole mess leaves me angry as well as sad. Cape Mendocino is an extremely dangerous spot-I have no doubt He had tons of experience but the Cape is no place for solo boating yet alone solo diving. I have friends (fellow divers) who tried to talk him out of going at the dock. My friend risked his neck on the dive down His anchor line in big current off the coast guard cutter searching. I do not know the man and looking at his web site I can see he has lots of dives in- but Pt Conception -Cape Mendocino-Cape horn-are not for solo trips. I hope he makes it to shore but the lost coast is a barren place. I know more details than I care to share -Lets hope he makes it -it's day 4 now . Pray for a miracle-I am. Mark Cortright

Edited by onokai, 20 March 2007 - 05:41 PM.

2 Subal procase 5- Housings
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Nikon film f/5's and f/3's cameras
Way to many strobes to list
All that Nikonos junk
and now a subal d300 setup
Still a film divasourus with a baby toe in digital world

#6 onokai

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 10:24 PM

Weather has turned clear now and the gail is blowing to 40 at the Cape . Swell is 12 feet. Lets hope he's on the beach somewhere on the lost coast by now. Mark
2 Subal procase 5- Housings
2 Aquatica f/3 housings
Nikon film f/5's and f/3's cameras
Way to many strobes to list
All that Nikonos junk
and now a subal d300 setup
Still a film divasourus with a baby toe in digital world

#7 Aqua_Ape

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Posted 23 March 2007 - 09:39 AM

I heard in the shop the other day that the Coasties called off the search. Kawika could often be found making my openwater students giggle by lounging in our dunk tanks to rinse his drysuit at the Breakwater. On occasion we'd banter about nerdy stuff like TTL electronics and computer sampling rates. I didn't know him well, but I know he had solid skills apart from being a really warm person. It is brutal to lose someone like this. My heartfelt condolences go out to his family and friends. Mother O is unforgiving, but I hate being reminded like this...

#8 onokai

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 12:11 PM

This out in todays paper-Its a good wrap up of events

http://www.eurekarep...ArticleID=22093


Mark Cortright
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2 Aquatica f/3 housings
Nikon film f/5's and f/3's cameras
Way to many strobes to list
All that Nikonos junk
and now a subal d300 setup
Still a film divasourus with a baby toe in digital world

#9 NickJ

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 08:25 PM

Stuck anchor and strong currents, seems a likely cause, and one which we can probably all relate to. The coastguard's comment about risking life for a piece of relatively cheap and replaceable equipment is also eerily familiar. Add solo diving to the mix and this looks like a disaster waiting to happen. Such a shame for him and his family and friends.

Edited by NickJ, 27 March 2007 - 08:26 PM.

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