Central Coast

The Island that Isn’t: Monterey’s Shale Island

Each weekend hundreds of student divers fill the parking lots adjacent the Monterey Breakwater. While the diving at the Breakwater is quite good, particularly if you swim out past the classes, few know that better diving is found about a half mile offshore from the tip of the Breakwater. Here divers find a great expanse of rocky reef that old timers call Shale Beds or Tanker Reef. “Shale Beds” describes the composition of the rock found here, while “Tanker Reef” refers to the spot where […]

Monterey Bay’s Aumentos Reef

While beach diving is certainly a lot of fun, the dive sites with better visibility and more marine life must be dived from a boat since they are located so far from the beach. The area east of Point Pinos has a large number of “named sites” that are truly great dives. One of the more popular is Aumentos Reef; and for good reason since this reef supports one of the densest populations of marine life in the Monterey Bay.   The name of this […]

Carmel Bay’s Fire Rock: A Perfect Wintertime Dive

‘When El Niño-driven winter storms hit the California Coast it is best to view the ocean from a long, safe distance. However, the times between storms produce the finest diving of the year. Regardless of El Niño conditions the water temperature in winter is considerably warmer than that found during spring and early summer; and calm, winter days produce the best visibility of the year, often over 80 feet. One of my favorite winter dives is the Carmel Bay site called Fire Rock.   Fire […]

Getting Serious at Monterey’s Seriously Reef

I was out on a dive charter in September and the captain asked me where I wanted to dive. Of course I asked her to select a spot that I have not previously reviewed. She responded, “Seriously!”  “Yes, seriously,” I replied.  “No, the dive sites name is Seriously,” she explained. At first it felt like we were reliving Abbot and Costello’s “Who’s on first?” sketch, but I finally realized we were going to dive a new site named Seriously. The site was identified from bathometry […]

Lovers Point East Side

Lovers Point offers one of the most comfortable and underappreciated dives in the Monterey Bay Area. In the early days of Monterey this area was very popular among amorous teenagers. Now, it is a spot for those who love the ocean and diving. This is a particularly convenient place to dive since you can park near the water and find interesting diving close to shore. Surprisingly, this is one of those sites where unusual things can almost be expected to happen. Lovers Point has two […]

Monterey Bay’s Eric’s Pinnacle

The greater Monterey Bay Area has a large number of “named” dive sites; and there is often an entertaining story that accompanies each name. Eric’s Pinnacle is a good example. Back in the 1990s Captain Phil Sammet and Eric Minard (Captain Dave Minard’s brother) were out looking for a sandy spot to hunt halibut. Phil was driving and Eric was watching the depth finder when they went over a steep-sided pinnacle. Eric exclaimed, “Wow, look at that!” Phil said, “You found it; what are you […]

Monterey’s MacAfee Pinnacle

Some dives are challenging and require advanced divers to utilize all their skills to enjoy the dive. Other dives are all about experiencing calm serenity and enjoying the site’s fascinating marine life, and may be appreciated by divers of all skill levels. MacAfee Pinnacle is in the latter category. MacAfee Pinnacle is located off of McAbee Beach in the City of Monterey. Although it is possible to make the long swim from shore to this pinnacle, divers normally enjoy this site from one of Monterey’s […]

Monterey’s Metridium Mountain

Although I dive the Monterey area quite a bit, I am constantly amazed how Monterey’s captains can find new and often better sites so close to our old favorites. This spring the Beachhopper II took me to such a site. Metridium Mountain is located off of Stanford University’s Hopkins Marine Station. The anchorage is a short distance from the well-known site called Hopkins Deep Reef. At Hopkins Deep the rocks barely rise up off the bottom, while the rock structure is much more dramatic at […]

It’s Worth the Hike to Reach Carmel Meadows

Would it not be wonderful if all dive sites had plentiful parking with an easy walk to a very calm entry? A lot of sites are this easy to dive, but some of the better sites require a bit more effort, and often this extra effort is rewarded with a superior experience. Carmel Meadows is such a dive site. This site takes its name from its proximity to the Carmel Meadows community in Carmel-by-the-Sea. The entry is actually on the south end of the Carmel […]

Rediscovering The Monterey Breakwater

I’ll wager most Central California divers did at least two of their certification dives at the Breakwater. This dive site is the most protected in the Monterey Bay Area and is an ideal spot for open-water certification dives. As diver’s skills improve, most divers migrate away from the Breakwater to find more challenging sites and to avoid the crowds. However, as more and more divers take up underwater photography, the Breakwater is now known for its incredible collection of photogenic marine life. Even within an […]

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