Central Coast

Monterey’s North Monastery Beach

Those of us who started diving several decades ago reminisce about the old days, and rarely are the new days better than our memories of the past. However, on a recent dive in Carmel Bay I was elated to see that the oceans are not only holding their own, they are getting better. On this recent dive off Monastery Beach I saw more and bigger fish in one place than I have ever seen along the Central California Coast, even more than in the “good […]

Diving Rock Ridge Along Monterey’s Point Pinos

Like the land, the underwater world exhibits distinct seasons. Summertime brings plankton blooms and the entire Monterey Area teems with life. While this is great for the ocean’s inhabitants, divers often complain about poor visibility. However, this is a great time of year to grab your macro lens and enjoy all of the area’s fantastic little critters. A site called Rock Ridge, along the northeast side of Point Pinos, is an often-overlooked Monterey dive site. A rocky boulder field runs parallel to shore, about 200 […]

Monterey’s Del Monte Beach

Divers are fortunate to have many highly regarded charter boats operating out of Monterey Bay, but the area also offers interesting beach diving. Looking north and east from the large parking lot at the foot of Wharf #2, you’ll notice a beautiful, wide sandy beach filled with divers, kayakers, sailors and other happy ocean enthusiasts. This beach was originally part of the Del Monte Hotel complex, which was one of the finest resorts in California when it was built in 1880. Today the beach is […]

Moby Ling Cove

The Big Sur coastline stretches south of Malpaso Creek near Carmel to Ragged Point near the San Luis Obispo County Line. The dive sites here are wild, undeveloped, and offer some of the most pristine diving in the state. Access to most of these sites is extremely limited, as many of the shore-accessible sites require divers to be part mountain goat, and charter boat trips from Monterey or Santa Barbara are few and far between. The most accessible shore diving is found in an area […]

Exploring Carmel Bay’s — The Needle Dive Site

Although it’s not true in every case, it appears there is some logic behind many of California’s dive site names. The 16th Century Spanish and English explorers named the major headlands and islands. Offshore rocks normally bear the name of the ship that first ran into them. In the absence of surface features, most California sites are either named after the diver who discovered them, or after a prominent feature of the underwater topography. A good example of the latter is The Needle in Carmel […]

Butterfly Reef

A wise man once said that you really don’t know much about a subject unless you can describe it with numbers. This is true about many aspects of diving. How is the visibility? What gas composition is in your tank? How many fish did you see? I recently participated in a REEF fish count (see sidebar) and came away with a profound appreciation of just how impressive numbers can be. On our first dive we surveyed the Outer Butterfly Reef. This extensive reef lies offshore […]

Dive Spot Monterey County: Aumentos Reef

Each weekend Monterey’s fleet of charter dive boats speeds past Point Pinos as they head south to Carmel Bay and Big Sur. On their way they pass over some of the best diving in Monterey County — pristine reefs offshore of Point Pinos, which in Spanish means “Point of the Pines.” These are infrequently dived because they are exposed to the wind and swell, but on very calm days, you needn’t go farther for good diving. Aumentos Reef is one of the best dives near […]

Exploring the Monterey Breakwater at Night

My buddy and I silently glided across the inky black water. The sun had set several hours before, and the streetlights warmly illuminated the nearby rocks and hotels. However, the water was as black as black can be. Out of the darkness immerged a bewhiskered face. The otter swam right up to my buddy with a great deal of speed and sense of purpose. He then placed a paw on each side of my buddy’s mask, pushed his nose to the glass, and appeared to […]

Brian’s Crack

Like any good diver I listened to our divemaster’s instructions, and followed the anchor line to the bottom. Just as advertised the entrance to the cave was directly to the right of the anchor. I dropped to the bottom of what appeared to be a 10-foot pit and stared into nothingness as the cave disappeared into blackness. Switching on my light revealed rock walls that were brilliantly colored in hues of red, yellow and orange. Brian’s Crack is located just offshore and west of Pescadoro […]

Black Dog Ridge

A few years ago Sami Laine and Chuck Tribolet were looking for Local’s Ledge off Cypress Point when a high profile ridge popped off the bottom on their depth finder. Like all good explorers they chose to dive the ridge instead of the ledge. It turned out to be such a spectacular site that Chuck named the ridge after his boat–Black Dog Ridge. Black Dog Ridge runs approximately northeast to southwest, and the ridge is shaped roughly like the keel of a sailboat–long, narrow and […]

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