Central Coast

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 […]

High Education – and Entertainment – at Hopkins Reef

Hopkins Marine Station
Hopkins Marine Station

Have you ever thought about diving in a school? No, I’m not talking about being one with the fishes. I’m talking about a real school, with laboratories and classrooms. Well, if you ever dived at Hopkins Reef, off Point Cabrillo, that’s sort of what you’ve done. There is an extensive reef system directly offshore of the Hopkins Marine Station in Pacific Grove. Stanford University operates the lab named after one of its co-founders, Timothy Hopkins. Here students and professors have the opportunity to learn more […]

Carmel’s Butterfly House Beach

The Monterey and Carmel Bays have a great number of fantastic beach dives. However, most divers tend to visit the more popular sites along the inner Monterey Bay and Southern Carmel Bay, while ignoring some of the more interesting and off-the-beaten-path beaches. One of my favorite, yet seldom visited sites is Butterfly House Beach. The Butterfly House entry is located on the protected, south side of the City of Carmel-by-the-Sea, and takes its name from the house with the funky, wing-like roof. This house was […]

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