Channel Islands

The Jewel of Emerald Bay: Indian Rock

My buddy and I became separated. We could not see each other. Although the water clarity was upward of 50 feet, and we were about 20 feet off the bottom, and only 20 feet apart we were blinded simply by the engulfing mass of silver life that surrounded us. I even had trouble telling which way was up! The school of jack mackerel was massive, the largest I’d ever seen. It must have numbered 10 to 20 thousand, but who was counting or even could. […]

Diving Anacapa’s “Coral Reef”

When you think of coral reefs, chances are you think of underwater scenery featuring bright colors. Our waters are a bit too chilly to support actual coral reefs, but the colors here might just fool you into thinking you’re on an actual tropical reef. Anacapa’s Coral Reef dive site is covered with colorful invertebrate marine life. Patchwork clusters of tiny corynactis anemones make up the main mosaic. You’ll see the lavender, yellow, and pink hues of these tiny anemones. Baseball-sized white-spotted rose anemones offer deep […]

For Sea Fan Fans: Catalina’s Stony Point

I’m a big fan of sea fans. If you’re like me, you’ll enjoy diving Catalina’s Stony Point, because it’s adorned with an excellent variety and healthy population of gorgonian sea fans. First, I find them exceptionally beautifully but just as important, they don’t go anywhere. In scientific terminology, they are “sessile,” firmly affixed to the bottom — which makes them an easy photo subject. Their only motion is to sway gently in the surge and currents, quietly filtering their food from the water. They are […]

Visiting a Friend Off Anacapa’s West End: Say Hello to Larry the Lingcod

AT-A-GLANCE   Skill Level: Beginner to intermediate but experience with currents is a must. Location: Seaward side (south) of the extreme west end of West Anacapa Island Access: Boat only. Entry and Exit: Dependent on local weather, swells and currents. Depth Range: 15 to 90 feet. Conditions: Variable. Exposed to the open sea. Conditions can sometimes be challenging. Visibility: Good averaging a consistent 40 feet. Photography: Good wide-angle around ledges and very good for macro with many small fish Hunting: Poor. Remember the north side […]

Something For Everyone: Satisfying Diving at Hen Rock

You’ve got to love those dive sites that can satisfy all skill levels. Hen Rock is just one of those locations. Reef and sand bottom depths vary from around 15 to 85 feet on the outer pinnacles. And there is no shortage of things to see and do. Swim-throughs, schools of fish, mini-walls and overhangs — sounds like an advanced dive site, doesn’t it? It’s not. Hen Rock is one of the best beginner dive sites at Catalina Island. It has a lot of fun […]

It’s Anything But a Trash Heap: Enjoying Anacapa’s Garbage Cove 

Garbage Cove! What kind of name is that for a dive site?! In spite of its unattractive name, the diving in this small cove is extraordinary. So just how did this dive location get its rather unattractive name? Early in the 20th century a much-needed lighthouse was built on the east end of East Anacapa Island. Construction of the lighthouse and other buildings was completed in 1932, making this the last lighthouse to be built on the West Coast. In the late 1930s Anacapa Island, along with Santa Barbara Island, […]

Coches Prietos: No Pigs, But Plenty of Photo Hogs

Santa Cruz Island’s Coches Prietos anchorage means “dark pig” in Spanish, but in my mind the dive site off the east end point will forever be known as Baby Sheephead Rocks. I’ve tried for many years to get a decent photo of a juvenile sheephead. They’re not uncommon, but the darned things just won’t sit still. For whatever reason, on a recent dive at Coches Prietos I encountered not a dark pig but a photo hog — a lovely juvenile sheephead that parked itself in […]

Fast, Fun Action at Anacapa’s Sea Lion Beach

Anacapa Sea Lion Beach
Anacapa Sea Lion Beach

No animals encountered in the California underwater world are quite as playful as sea lions. Their big dark puppy-dog eyes will melt your heart. Their antics and playfulness will make you laugh into your regulator. And they will challenge your underwater photo skills to the max. Encounters can happen almost anywhere along the coast and out at the islands but only a few locations hold the guarantee that you will see sea lions. One of these locations, and the easiest to get to, is at […]

A Gem of a Dive Site: Catalina’s Multi-faceted Bird Rock

In our humble opinion Bird Rock is among the best dive sites on Catalina Island. The underwater terrain varies from shallow reefs, a steep drop off down a wall, and even an underwater arch. We have been on dive charter boats at Bird Rock with a range of skill levels from certification classes to advanced divers and every body seems to come up smiling. The west side of the domed rock surface gives away to a gently sloping rock bottom with small ledges. Depending on […]

Challenges and Rewards at Egg Rock

Egg Rock Dive Site Channel Islands
Egg Rock Dive Site Channel Islands

Visiting remote dive sites can be challenging due to weather and sea conditions, but we often find that the more remote the site, the more rewarding the adventure in terms of underwater visibility and abundance of marine life. Well-known southern California examples of such locations include Farnsworth Bank, Begg Rock, Cortez Bank, and Wilsons Rock. Distance from shore and “sporting” sea conditions make them less frequented by divers. Egg Rock is almost unheard of among diving circles. It sits nearly smack-dab in the middle of […]

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