Catalina

Going Deep at Catalina’s Farnsworth Bank

Ask any experienced Southern California diver what they consider the most spectacular dive in all the Channel Islands and it’s likely you’ll hear Farnsworth Bank mentioned. A lot. Farnsworth is series of tall underwater mountains and sharp pinnacles approximately 1.6 miles off the backside of Catalina Island. Surrounding waters are deep and the area is constantly bathed in clear oceanic currents. It is the main mountain at a depth of about 55 feet that is the most often dived. There are several other nearby pinnacles […]

Butterfly Hunting at Crane Point

Much of Southern California diving is considered temperate with Catalina surface water temperatures topping out at 70 degrees Fahrenheit mid-summer and falling to the high 50s F in the winter. They’d hardly be considered “tropical” yet the area is home to butterflyfish. If you look in the right spot they are not hard to find. And that right spot is Crane Point in the Rock Quarry area on Catalina Island.  It is believed the Scythe butterflyfish first appeared at this location during the El Niño […]

Doctor’s Cove

We’d already made two great dives along the west end of Catalina and our group was admittedly a little tired, but when offered the chance to make a third dive at Doctor’s Cove we all jumped at the chance. Why? Because a dive at Doctor’s Cove is a rare treat. The reefs surrounding Emerald Bay’s Indian Rock are known for lush kelp beds rich with sea life and excellent visibility, and as a result, Doctor’s Cove is often overlooked. That’s too bad, especially since it’s […]

No Clubs Required: Exploring Catalina’s Golf Balls Reef

Catalina Island, in particular the town of Avalon, is a haven for residents and tourists alike, because it offers great weather and a wide range of leisure activities, including scuba diving — and golf. Ironically, the dive site known as “golf balls” isn’t located near a golf course. It’s below a bluff that local golfers use as a makeshift driving range.  Before entering the water here the charter boat captain offered a challenge: the buddy team that surfaced with the most golf balls would win […]

Catalina Island: Way Out West at Johnson Rock

As wonderful as Catalina Island diving is, seasoned divers can get complacent about visiting many of its great dive site “Been there, done that,” they say. Well it is time to scream “Westward Ho!” and head for the Wild West of Catalina Island. The best diving on the far west end of Catalina Island is the reef and kelp forest area around Johnson Rock. It is an exceptionally large area with fascinating underwater terrain to explore, and marine life to enjoy. But here’s the thing. […]

Avalon Underwater Park at Casino Point

If you have friends visiting from out of town that would enjoy a quick look at what Southern California diving has to offer, consider a trip to Catalina’s Avalon Underwater Park. You’ll find a lush kelp forest, mini-walls, pinnacles, sand flats, even a few small wrecks, and an abundance of marine life. It’ a “sampler platter” of California Channel Islands diving.  Avalon is a delightful and charming small town on Avalon Bay, Catalina Island — the only municipality on any of the Channel Islands. Catalina […]

Catalina Island Trifecta

Catalina Island is center point for Southern California diving activity. Tens of thousands of dives are made here every year by all experience levels and the heart of this diving Mecca has to be at the Isthmus.  The Isthmus at Catalina Island is the narrowest point of the Island at only a quarter mile across. Straddling the strip of land is the tiny town of Two Harbors. On either side of the town are large coves, both offering varying degrees of protection from winds and […]

Catalina’s Top 3 Rarely Visited Dive Sites

I love diving Catalina Island. It is one of my favorite places in the whole world to dive. But after having dived Catalina thousands of times, it can seem at times to get a little old; however, there are excellent dive sites that are rarely visited. Why theses sites are rarely visited is quite simple: they are definitely advanced sites. The reasons are twofold — strong currents and depths. While not exactly “secret,” these charter boats will sometimes hesitate on taking divers here unless firmly […]

Long Point, Catalina Island

The huge moray was friendly to the point of scary. It came right out of its hole directly at me only to turn and head toward Kim. This was Psycho, a long time resident of Pirate’s Cove just on the inside of Long Point, Catalina Island. While Psycho is gone, his (or maybe her) cousins remain. This is one of the best spots to see moray eels at Catalina Island. But the dive site of Long Point has much more to offer than just friendly […]

Fraggle Rock

I’m sure all of you remember the famous Jim Henson of Muppets fame (Sesame Street). Do you remember his children’s show know as “Fraggle Rock”? It lasted for about five years in the 1980s and featured a large cast of characters in a variety of shapes, sizes, personalities, and colors, all living in the same community. Not only was the show entertaining for children but adults loved it as well (this one included). It is no wonder I was immediately attracted to this dive site […]

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