Central Coast

Horseshoe Reef

Some dive sites are good for invertebrates, others are good for fish, and still others have interesting bottom topography. It is, however, unusual for sites to have it all. One of the Camel Bay sites that, indeed, has it all is a seldom-visited spot called Horseshoe. Horseshoe is best described as one of the “outer” outer pinnacles and is a newly discovered spot a bit further offshore than the Outer Pinnacles in Carmel Bay. This raised rocky area is shaped much a “U” or horseshoe […]

Point Lobos State Reserve, Bluefish Wall

Sometimes all you need is a yen to go diving, your gear, and a way to the beach. At other times access to the better dive sites require a bit more planning. You may need to sign on to a charter boat well in advance to reach the more exposed and prolific sites, or you may need to think ahead and make a reservation at one of our restricted diving areas. Several dive sites that justify the time to plan ahead are the magnificent locations […]

Fire Rock

California winter diving can best be described as beauty or the beast. When winter storms are raging, divers can certainly experience marginal conditions. The time between storms, however, produces the calmest, clearest and warmest water of the year. Choosing a dive site depends on accessing the various sites against the wind and swell conditions. When a moderate northwest swell is running, a great spot is Fire Rock. Fire Rock lies south of Pescadero Point at the northern most point of Carmel Bay. The line between […]

White Wall

We descended the anchor line and began to enjoy the better-than-average visibility. Before us loomed a series of vertical walls, all covered in white. The fluffy white Metridium anemones layered most of the rocky surfaces facing us, and we were surrounded by an enormous school of blue rockfish. I thought to myself, “O.K., it’s going to be a great dive.” The White Wall is located offshore of Point Pinos, a bit northwest of Aumentos Reef in Monterey Bay. This little nugget of a site was […]

Dive Spot Monterey: Dali’s Wall

I cruised along the wall looking for nudibranchs when the back of a large crack started to move. Training my light deep within the crack revealed a mouth full of teeth beneath a huge forehead. The enormous wolf-eel was startled by my light and slowly retreated into the most private place of his lair, but not before he flashed his big canine teeth in a gesture of defiance. Stillwater Cove lies on the north side of Carmel Bay, and the cove is protected by Pescadero […]

East Pinnacle

Dozens of blue rockfish flowed in and out of view as we descended the anchor line. There was a strong plankton bloom that day and visibility on the surface was limited, but the rockfish did not seem to care as they picked off the larger tasty bits that floated by. At 40 feet the top of the pinnacle popped into view and we were startled by the intense pink and purple colors of an expansive field of hydrocoral. The swaying palm kelp seemed to beckon […]


The coastline of California is enormous, and sometimes it is a daunting task to select a dive site. With so many kelp beds, rocky points, and inshore reefs to pick from, how does one decide where to dive? Monterey’s charter boat captains have an easier time making these decisions because with decades of experience they have dived it all. Their experience and wisdom coupled with the conditions de jour allow them to pick the best site possible on any given day. For example, divers refer […]


First we dived from shore, then from kayaks and small boats–but only using shore line-ups to find sites. Advances in technology including depth finders, GPS and bathometry charts have allowed us to not only discover but also reliably locate fabulous dive sites that are far from shore. Monterey’s dive boat captains strive to discover new sites, and offer their customers a better and wider range of dive sites than ever before. These offshore sites are often pristine and abound in the variety of marine life […]

Diving Big Sur on the Vision

California has been my primary dive destination since 1973, and I’ve made more than 1,000 dives off its coast. Yet until last September I’d never been north of San Miguel Island. Why? Because I’m a wetsuit user and thought the water would be too cold. It should be no surprise it’s not warm, but on our four-day Big Sur trip last September, it ranged from 54 to 58°F — five to ten degrees warmer than I expected. Truth Aquatics runs Big Sur trips in June […]


There was a bit of a plankton bloom that day, but only within the upper 20 or 30 feet. As we followed the anchor line down and popped out of the turbid layer, a brilliant red dome of strawberry anemones appeared, framed in a luminous white ring of Metridium anemones. The clarity of the water was excellent, and the shape and color reminded me of a red ruby set in white gold–simply magnificent. Ball-Buster is an offshore pinnacle a bit off the beaten path in […]

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