Channel Islands

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 […]

Santa Rosa Island’s Talcott Shoal

Talcott Shoal is arguably one of the best lobster hunting spots in all the Channel Islands.   But wait, you say, isn’t lobster season over? Not quite, especially for Talcott Shoal. Not only is this location great early in the season but for veteran hunters one of the best locations for a late season bug grab, especially for those big ones.   “Lobster Fever,” as it is sometimes called generally reaches its peak early in the season during October, at the season opener. Divers fan […]

Jewels of the Calif. Coast, Part 1: Northern Channel Islands

A native Chicagoan, it wasn’t until I became a scuba diver that I discovered Santa Catalina isn’t the only island off the SoCal coast; it is one of eight. In the past 40 years I have explored all of them. Each is unique above and below the water and each offers hundreds of dive sites, no two alike. Five of the eight comprise the Channel Islands National Park and Marine Sanctuary. This article is about four: Anacapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa and San Miguel. The […]

Nooks and Crannies

In the multitude of holes and mini-caves we found numerous lobster, an octopus, and a couple of moray eels. Mountains of rock rise from the bottom dotted with thousands of bright blue and red blue-banded gobies and here and there dazzling Spanish shawl nudibranchs.  This was our third dive of the day. So far it had been an exceptional day of diving but it seems that our dive charter boat, Sundiver Express, had saved the best dive for last. While it is a great dive […]

Anacapa’s Wreck of the Equator

With most sunken wrecks it is fun to talk about illustrious careers of sailing from distant ports to wayward harbors and islands. Who were the mysterious personalities that walked the vessel’s decks over the years? What were their dreams? Were they famous, infamous or just no-bodies? In what spectacular way did the boat meet its demise? Unfortunately, the wreck of the Equator on Anacapa Island lacks a remarkable story. Even its sinking was not particularly interesting.  The Equator was built in 1949 and sank later […]

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