Central Coast

A Cool Dive Off Cannery Row: Enjoying San Carlos Beach

Sometimes I seek out challenging sites with access to exposed reefs, deeper water and large animals. At other times I prefer to experience a relaxing dive, with an easy entry and exit, and plenty of colorful critters to photograph. Monterey County offers a great variety of dive sites, so there are plenty of sites to choose from depending on my mood and conditions. One of the most relaxing sites is San Carlos Beach. San Carlos Beach may be found at the end of Cannery Row […]

A Perennial Favorite: Returning to Eric’s Pinnacle

I enjoy the excitement of being the first diver on a new site. However, not every unexplored site offers a great dive, and sometimes you have to pick through the rock pile before you find the true gems. I also enjoy diving my favorite sites year after year to visit with old friends, witness any changes and embrace the predictability of a great dive. Diving a familiar site can be as comforting as sharing coffee with an old friend. One site I enthusiastically dive time […]

Rocking It At Monterey’s Cloud Mountain

At-A-Glance Skill Level: Intermediate or better due the possibility of strong currents. Location: Offshore of Pacific Grove at 36° 38.326’ N, 121° 55.307’ W. Access: Boats may be launched from the public ramps at Monterey Breakwater or between Fisherman’s Wharf and Wharf #2. Facilities: None Entry and Exit: Only boat access Depth Range: 40 to 60 feet Conditions: Variable Visibility: 20 to 40 feet Photography: Great macro and fish photography even on days when the visibility to poor; good wide-angle photography when the visibility is […]

History and Healthy Kelp Forest: Enjoying Monterey’s McAbee Beach

Each and every one of our California dive spots has a long and rich history. Take McAbee Beach in Monterey, for example. In the 1890s John B. McAbee found the inspiration to set up a seaside resort along what would later be called Cannery Row. He purchased some land in the center of the Row, put up a few tent-cottages, and purchased some small boats to rent. On summer Sundays this was the place to sunbathe, take a dip in the ocean, and to see […]

Diving Point Lobos the Easy Way

Most of us tend to reflect on the “good old days” with a great deal of fondness. I suspect this is true mostly because we tend to forget the tough parts. In the “good old days” (when I was younger, stronger, and poorer) we would dive Point Lobos from the ramp, and swim all the way around the corner into Bluefish Cove. Later, I had access to a small inflatable boat, and traded long swims for time spent prepping and cleaning the boat. These days, […]

A Treasured Historic Site: Bluefish Cove, Point Lobos State Natural Reserve 

Divers, in general, are not aware of the colorful history of our most treasured dive sites. They come, dive, and depart without thinking about what happened in the past. Take Point Lobos, for example. In 1769 Point Lobos was named “Punta de los Lobos Marinos”, or Point of the Sea Wolves, by early Spanish explorers because of the large concentration of California sea lions that reside here. It was first a logging camp, then from the 1860s through the early 1890s a whaling port, an abalone harvesting […]

A Perfect Monterey Bay Beach Dive: Cool and Calm on Coral Street

At-A-Glance Skill Level: Intermediate or better on most days. Novice divers can enjoy Coral Street on calm days. Since conditions can change rapidly, novices should be accompanied by more experienced divers. Location: At the intersection of Coral Street and Ocean View Boulevard in Pacific Grove. Access: Free parking is available right next to the entry. This is a good spot to launch kayaks to explore the offshore Chase Reef. A short set of stairs takes you to a gravel beach. Facilities: None at the entry; there is a […]

Enjoying Carmel’s Cypress Point

I am constantly amazed by how many individual dive sites exist within the Monterey and Carmel Bays — and just how different these nearby sites can be from each other. One could guess that sites close to one another experience nearly the same ocean conditions and would have similar geographic features and marine life, but this is often not the case. Take for example Humpback Pinnacle off of Cypress Point. This site was named “humpback” because on bathometry charts the reef looks like the arched […]

Well-Protected off Point Lobos: The Wonders of Gibson Beach

When divers board boats in Monterey Bay, most expect to dive in Carmel Bay, and many hope to go south of Point Lobos. It is not that the diving is always better farther south, and often is not, but they expect to head south. Sometimes you do not need to go very far south of Point Lobos to both meet expectations and find superior diving. Gibson Beach is a fine example of a dive site that proves this point. Gibson Beach, along with the adjacent […]

Taking it In: Diving Near Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Intake Pipes

When the Monterey Bay Aquarium opened its doors in 1984 it would have been difficult to predict just how much this institution would change the face of Monterey. In a few short years Monterey went from a sleepy fishing and vacation community to a major tourist destination that attracts visitors from throughout the country and internationally. Its large and small tanks are a monument to the marine life of the Monterey Bay, and numerous scientific studies are conducted here, aimed at protecting our oceans. The […]

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