Dive Spot Anacapa Island: Lingcod Lair

It wasn’t just a dive trip. This was an adventure, as charter boat owner Jim Smith positioned the dive charter boat Raptor near a “mystery” dive site. Jim decided to explore this area because his electronic scan of the bottom showed an interesting profile of rocky ridges. Since the site had no official name, he proposed an informal contest of sorts to name the location. So I went off with a “name the dive site” goal in mind.  Descending to the bottom where the reefs […]

Dive Spot Anacapa Island: Channels

Considering it is so easy to reach, and that so many new divers get their first experiences here, Anacapa Island can hold some high-voltage dive experiences. Dive spots like Coral Reef and the extreme west end hold deep drop-offs and rapid currents. The sea lion dive is one of the best in all the Channel Islands with a constant barrage of dive-bombing pinnepeds. Then there is the rarely visited deep WWII Avenger airplane wreck. The “Channels” site is not one of these high-energy dives. In […]

The Garden

If we are to see and photograph more fish, we have to go where they are in abundance. And a long established marine preserve is the best place to do this. With a marine preserve that has been around for decades, not only are fish plentiful, they are usually large and unafraid of divers. Such is the case on the frontside of East Anacapa Island. In existence since 1978, this is one of the longest established marine preserves in North America. Smack dab in the […]

The Channels

The “Channels” dive site on the backside of West Anacapa Island is one of those dive sites I fell in love with immediately. It has a nice growth of kelp, healthy, but not too thick, a varied and unusual bottom structure, and a lot of little, and a few big, undersea creatures to keep you entertained on your dive. Another reason I like this dive is because it’s shallow, generally less than 30 feet and much of it less than 20. Shallow dives last longer. […]

West End

The extreme west end of the West Anacapa Island is one of the most exciting, colorful dive sites in all the Northern Channel Islands chain—and it is rarely dived. This is a very special place. Descending to the reefs you cannot help but be overwhelmed by the color provided by profuse growths of gorgonia. The more common and colorful gold and red gorgonia are present but what makes this place special is the uncommon purple gorgonian; uncommon, however, except for here. There are several mini-walls […]

Anacapa: Small in Size, Huge in Diving Adventures

I can’t think of Anacapa without thinking of the Winfield Scott. On a foggy night in December 1853 the side wheel steamer, laden with gold and more than 400 passengers, many of them also carrying gold, ran into a rock just off the north side of Middle Anacapa. There was a great deal of panic and confusion, but everyone was eventually ferried to a large rock 200yards off the island. This rock was estimated to be 50 yards long and 25 yards wide by one […]

Parallel Reefs

Along the backside of Anacapa Island, between Middle and West Anacapa, are a series of reefs that run roughly parallel to shore, hence the name. It is a large dive area with a variety of depths, and one can easily spend an entire day of diving here, if not a whole season. The most interesting of the reefs is the outer spine. This rocky outcropping extends for considerable distance and offers a good profile with pinnacles, ridges, and mini-walls. The top of the reef sits […]

Gunsight Reef

Anacapa Island is actually a string of three small islands. Between East Anacapa and Middle Anacapa the ocean swirls white around jagged rocks. The passage between Middle Anacapa and West Anacapa is different. There are three breaks, the western most, a cobble beach awash at high tide. The eastern break is rough and rocky. In the middle is a rock arch. From the frontside (north) of the island, if you look at just the correct angle, almost due south, you can see through the tunnel […]

The Ab Spot

Yes, at one time there were abalone at Anacapa Island—abundantly. So much so that this particular dive spot gained its name from a now scarce mollusk. And, yes, they can still be seen here, but you really have to look— but don’t touch! As you know, abalone are fully protected to hopefully give them a chance to recover numbers. Just touching them can kill them. Abalone are hemophiliacs. If they are cut or damaged in any way they bleed to death. Both black and green […]

Underwater Arch

Arch Rock on the east end of the East Island of Anacapa is the symbol of the Channel Islands National Park. Its sweeping grandeur is one of the most beautiful ocean scenes in the world. Gulls and pelicans are in constant motion around the rock edifice as the blue sea swirls below kelp lapping at the surface. As beautiful as this is there is a vista nearby that rivals the beauty of Arch Rock, only this location is underwater and, consequently, seen by far fewer […]

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