Catalina

West Eagle Reef

It’s all about animal action. Some places have it and others don’t. The west end of Eagle Reef has it—big time. Eagle reef is a large rocky structure, one-half mile long, 600 yards from shore. It is a series of pinnacles that come as little as three feet of the surface. Most of the shallow points, however, are in the 15 to 20 foot range. The west end of the reef tops out at 12 feet down and then rambles down steeply to as much […]

Blue Cavern East

Blue Cavern Point is a spectacular dive for two reasons. First, its geography is largely vertical, both above and below the water, and it puts it in a prime location to capture nutrient rich and life filled currents. Second, the point is a preserve that is the most carefully protected on the island. And it has been that way for some time. The USC Wrigley Marine Science Center carefully monitors the preserve, protecting its many scientific studies there, and shoos away anyone not willing to […]

Virgin Reef

In last month’s issue of CDN, there was a single panel cartoon about finding someone’s secret spot. The diver said to the other, “Go North 30 yards, West 10 yards, South 30 yards, then East 10 yards.” Essentially saying there is no secret spot. But—there are a few spots that are rarely known. A recent dive aboard the Encore had us pulling up to the West End of Catalina Island and Captain Pam announcing “this is known as the ‘Secret Spot’ or ‘Virgin Reef.’” Dale […]

Santa Catalina: The Four Preps Didn’t Know the Half of It

Singing along with the Four Preps decades ago (don’t ask how many), little did I dream I’d ever travel “26 miles across the sea” to “Santa Catalina, the island of romance.” Nor did I ever imagine I’d scuba dive its cool waters. But I did and I have. And not just once but many times. I’ve hiked the hills of Avalon and even rented a golf cart (fun) to drive up them. I’ve browsed the museum in the Casino; explored the botanical garden; and taken […]

Arrow Point West

The western third of Catalina Island is commonly referred to as the “West End” and some of the best, yet less frequented, dive sites can be found here. In general, there is more game, more fish and more color. The weather can be rougher here but calm days are not unusual. A prominent landmark and great dive in this area is Arrow Point. The east side of the point is more protected, but when the west side is calm the diving is best here. At […]

Sharkbite Rock

Sharkbite Rock gets its name from the rock formations on the hill above the water, looking much like a shark taking a bite out of the hillside. That is one thing that Catalina Island has, rock formations, plenty of them—both above and below the water line. Sharkbite Rock is near the dive site Italian Gardens and has much of the same underwater topography. The area is filled with larger boulders of all types and sizes. Creating mini reefs surrounded by large areas of sand. These […]

Little Farnsworth

The first time I tried to dive Little Farnsworth, my buddy and I ended up over a 130-foot sand bottom. In a heavy current, the boat had slipped anchor and on the descent down the anchor line we missed the pinnacle entirely. Little Farnsworth is a tough dive but worth the effort. Recently I was a bit more lucky. Descending to the rock face with my lights on, I was greeted by a wall of color. An orange-yellow burst into my eyes, provided by Zoanthid […]

Parson’s Landing

You’ve all seen them in the travel brochures—deserted island beaches with green hills surrounding a secluded cove. Don’t head for the airport to jump on a plane! We have them right here in Southern California. One of the best is Parson’s Landing on Catalina Island. Once more, there is great snorkeling and diving right offshore. And you can camp right on the beach! As you plan your trips for this summer, put Parson’s on your list for a relaxing afternoon— or a whole weekend. Parson’s […]

Ship Rock – A Mecca For Divers

It’s a Catalina landmark as well as a Mecca for divers. The guano covered pinnacle rises 66 feet above the ocean and resembles the white sail of a ship (albeit an enormous one). This pinnacle is known as Ship Rock. In open water, less than a mile and a half from the little town of Two Harbors at the Isthmus, Ship Rock is considered an advanced dive. It’s deep (more than 120 feet at the base of the pinnacle) and gets deeper the farther you […]

Isthmus Reef: One of Catalina’s Easiest Dives

One of the easiest yet most interesting dives off Catalina is Isthmus Reef. Many student divers arrive here with their classes. And since the hyperbaric chamber at the USC Wrigley Marine Science Center is just more than one-quarter mile away in Big Fisherman’s Cove, this is also a favorite site for boats participating in Chamber Day, the popular event benefiting the Catalina Hyperbaric Chamber taking place the first Wednesday of every May. They put their divers in the water while awaiting their turns to tie […]

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