Cherry Cove South

Now that the crowds of summer have gone, divers can safely get into nooks, crannies and reefs of Isthmus Cove usually jammed with pleasure boaters during summer months. Perhaps the most popular mooring areas is Cherry Cove on the west side of Isthmus Cove. There are a total of 103 moorings in the cove (controlled by the Isthmus Harbor Patrol) and a Boy Scout Camp on shore. On the north side of the cove is the popular dive site known as Lion Head. Although boat […]

China Point

Smuggling illegal immigrants into the U.S. through California is not just recent history. Nor was it limited to Hispanics. In the mid-nineteenth century, racism and fears of cheap labor taking away jobs of American citizens caused the government to ban Chinese immigration. But that did not stop the smugglers. Catalina became a stopping point for smuggling process and a camp was set up at a well hidden point on the backside of the island. History often leads to the names of locations and the spot […]

Catalina’s Most Fishy Dives

There are dives where one can be content by just gliding through blizzards of fish, different colors, sizes and types, but most of all, just thousands and thousands of them. Catalina Island has some great dives to do just that. FARNSWORTH BANK Farnsworth tops many of California’s best lists—best pinnacle, best advanced dive, clearest waters, best color and more. Two things stick in my mind about this site—purple hydrocoral and fish—lots of them. One dive in particular I remember had exceptionally good visibility—well over 100 […]

Catalina’s Unknown and Infrequently Visited Dives

Catalina Island is one of the most heavily dived islands in the world with millions of dives logged in its fantastic azure waters. Diving at Catalina is not only great but also very convenient to reach, especially for the 100,000 plus active divers at home just a few miles away on the mainland. Catalina is know for great diving, but, alas, not virgin diving. Even so, there are dive sites around Catalina that are great dives, but rarely visited. And many of these are on […]

An Easier Way to Dive Casino Point

The Avalon Underwater Park on Catalina Island (a.k.a. Casino Point) is a super place to dive and has grown in popularity by leaps and bounds since they added the steps and hand rails. This summer thousands are expected to visit, several hundred at the same time on some weekend days. In spite of the crowds, it is still a worthwhile place to visit. Make some adjustments to your plans for diving here and your experience will be much more enjoyable. WHAT TO BRING; WHAT NOT […]

Twilight At Hen Rock

A long, dark shadow crept quietly, imperceptibly across the sand flat. The sun was setting behind Catalina Island, the kelp forest was going dark, and I was witnessing an incredible sight. As day turned to night thousands of creatures were returning home, seeking shelter in the rocks and kelp, a safe place to rest. Everywhere I looked there was activity; a bat ray circled lazily, sheep crabs scurried, and fish were disappearing. Sensing the coming darkness, a solitary lobster marched defiantly across the open sand […]

Howland’s Landing Drop-Off

Why are divers so fascinated by diving on “walls”? There are multiple answers. First, it is the ready access to deep water which is both mysterious and compelling. Some venture forth, others just gaze into the darkness wondering what may come up from the depths. Also, as you descend along the face of a drop-off you witness, in a short span, the various marine life that is distinctive to that particular depth. But whatever the reason, divers like drop-offs. They are fun and exciting to […]

White Rocks (a.k.a. Sea Fan Grotto)

White Rocks, also known as Sea Fan Grotto, is one of the classic “must-do” dive sites at Catalina Island. Just east of Blue Cavern Point, massive slabs of rock sheared away from the cliff centuries ago and stacked themselves in such away underwater as to create a wonderful cavern that is suitable for all levels of divers. The rock pile can be clearly seen protruding from the surface, making this site easy to find. Some of the rocks are white with bird droppings, hence the […]

Avalon Underwater Park East End Wrecks

San Diego’s “Wreck Alley” is the Mecca for wreck divers, right? There are 4 main wrecks within a few square miles, with the crown jewel being the 366- foot long Canadian destroyer Yukon. It is all great diving, but many don’t realize that there is another spot in Southern California waters with over a half a dozen wrecks all in the area about the size of three football fields— and it can be dived from shore. Conditions are nearly always excellent with water visibility averaging […]

Goat Harbor

Sheltered cove, open sandy beach, camping availability, easy anchorage, good diving. Sound like a plan? Have a boat? You need to head to Catalina Island’s Goat Harbor. Located amidships the lee side of Catalina Island (about the middle facing the mainland), Goat Harbor provides a safe anchorage during a storm and a darn nice camping site pretty much anytime. The “U” shaped harbor is about half a mile wide with well-formed reef structure on either point and a sandy beach in the middle. It’s one […]

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