An Underwater Safari: Exploring Africa Cove

When we boarded the Sundiver Express we were headed for Catalina Island, but when we reached our dive site, the skipper, Kyaa, said we’d just reached Africa. I’m not exactly certain how Africa Cove got its name, but I’m guessing it’s because exploring this site is like being on an underwater safari. Almost immediately I found a pair of moray eels and about a half-dozen lobsters. Africa Cove is part of a Marine Conservation Area, which accounts for some of its bounty. As with most […]

The Jewel of Emerald Bay: Indian Rock

My buddy and I became separated. We could not see each other. Although the water clarity was upward of 50 feet, and we were about 20 feet off the bottom, and only 20 feet apart we were blinded simply by the engulfing mass of silver life that surrounded us. I even had trouble telling which way was up! The school of jack mackerel was massive, the largest I’d ever seen. It must have numbered 10 to 20 thousand, but who was counting or even could. […]

For Sea Fan Fans: Catalina’s Stony Point

I’m a big fan of sea fans. If you’re like me, you’ll enjoy diving Catalina’s Stony Point, because it’s adorned with an excellent variety and healthy population of gorgonian sea fans. First, I find them exceptionally beautifully but just as important, they don’t go anywhere. In scientific terminology, they are “sessile,” firmly affixed to the bottom — which makes them an easy photo subject. Their only motion is to sway gently in the surge and currents, quietly filtering their food from the water. They are […]

Something For Everyone: Satisfying Diving at Hen Rock

You’ve got to love those dive sites that can satisfy all skill levels. Hen Rock is just one of those locations. Reef and sand bottom depths vary from around 15 to 85 feet on the outer pinnacles. And there is no shortage of things to see and do. Swim-throughs, schools of fish, mini-walls and overhangs — sounds like an advanced dive site, doesn’t it? It’s not. Hen Rock is one of the best beginner dive sites at Catalina Island. It has a lot of fun […]

A Gem of a Dive Site: Catalina’s Multi-faceted Bird Rock

In our humble opinion Bird Rock is among the best dive sites on Catalina Island. The underwater terrain varies from shallow reefs, a steep drop off down a wall, and even an underwater arch. We have been on dive charter boats at Bird Rock with a range of skill levels from certification classes to advanced divers and every body seems to come up smiling. The west side of the domed rock surface gives away to a gently sloping rock bottom with small ledges. Depending on […]

Nooks and Crannies

In the multitude of holes and mini-caves we found numerous lobster, an octopus, and a couple of moray eels. Mountains of rock rise from the bottom dotted with thousands of bright blue and red blue-banded gobies and here and there dazzling Spanish shawl nudibranchs.  This was our third dive of the day. So far it had been an exceptional day of diving but it seems that our dive charter boat, Sundiver Express, had saved the best dive for last. While it is a great dive […]

The Wreck of the SueJac

Many divers have an affinity for shipwrecks. We seem to be drawn to examples of how man tries to tame the ocean with our so-called superior intellect and crafty hands only to find those creations dashed and sent to a watery grave. Through the power of the sea, and man’s folly, we divers often benefit with fun dive sites.  The problem we often run into is that these hulks are often difficult to reach, either through horizontal distance from shore or vertically in terms of […]

Isthmus Reef Offers Fun for All

Cruising along the base of the west wall of Isthmus Reef I stumbled across a most remarkable find — a four-foot long horn shark! While horn sharks are by no means uncommon, especially at this reef, seeing one this large was highly unusual. The horn shark gets its name from the spiny “horn” protruding from the top of its dorsal. When the shark is small, the sharp point serves as a deterrent to predators. Later in life the spine serves to help the shark stay […]

Lulu Reef

Lulu Reef is a series of three rock pinnacles inside Eagle Reef on the mainland of Catalina Island’s west end. Because of its proximity to Eagle Reef, it sometimes does not get the attention it deserves. All three rocks can be explored on a single dive. The main pinnacle is in the middle of a small rocky point. Rising from a depth of 60 feet to within just 12 feet of the surface, it is the largest (about the size of a large house) and […]

Little Gibraltar High Spot

As great as they are, dive charter boats have to bypass some unique spots simply because you can only put so many divers on a small reef at one time. One such small yet delightful reef is Little Gibraltar High Spot on the mainland side of Catalina Island. We had the pleasure of visiting this site with a small group of divers on the charter boat King Neptune. The reef is more of a spire than just a high spot. Peaking out at 35 feet […]

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