Channel Islands

China Point

Smuggling illegal immigrants into the U.S. through California is not just recent history. Nor was it limited to Hispanics. In the mid-nineteenth century, racism and fears of cheap labor taking away jobs of American citizens caused the government to ban Chinese immigration. But that did not stop the smugglers. Catalina became a stopping point for smuggling process and a camp was set up at a well hidden point on the backside of the island. History often leads to the names of locations and the spot […]

Begg Rock

Open ocean pinnacles offer some of the most spectacular diving found in California. The biggest problem diving those pinnacles is the length of time it takes getting there and wondering if the weather will be friendly. Begg Rock is one of those pinnacles. At 60 miles from the California mainland, it is one of the dives usually done from a multi-day, live-aboard boat. At about eight miles off the west end of San Nicolas, Island Begg Rock rises fifteen feet out of the sea. The […]

Catalina’s Most Fishy Dives

There are dives where one can be content by just gliding through blizzards of fish, different colors, sizes and types, but most of all, just thousands and thousands of them. Catalina Island has some great dives to do just that. FARNSWORTH BANK Farnsworth tops many of California’s best lists—best pinnacle, best advanced dive, clearest waters, best color and more. Two things stick in my mind about this site—purple hydrocoral and fish—lots of them. One dive in particular I remember had exceptionally good visibility—well over 100 […]

Catalina’s Unknown and Infrequently Visited Dives

Catalina Island is one of the most heavily dived islands in the world with millions of dives logged in its fantastic azure waters. Diving at Catalina is not only great but also very convenient to reach, especially for the 100,000 plus active divers at home just a few miles away on the mainland. Catalina is know for great diving, but, alas, not virgin diving. Even so, there are dive sites around Catalina that are great dives, but rarely visited. And many of these are on […]

Aggi Wreck

Of all the diving areas in Southern California, our Northern Channel Islands hold many of the most sought after diving locations. Yellow Banks, Fraser Point, Wyckoff Ledge and Point Bennett all provide incredible diving. But many divers argue, and with good reason, that Talcott Shoal provides the best diving in the area. The rocky reefs and ledges throughout Talcott support a wonderful diversity of sea life, and the dense, healthy kelp forests of the shoal are amazing to behold. As a lobster hunting ground, Talcott […]

An Easier Way to Dive Casino Point

The Avalon Underwater Park on Catalina Island (a.k.a. Casino Point) is a super place to dive and has grown in popularity by leaps and bounds since they added the steps and hand rails. This summer thousands are expected to visit, several hundred at the same time on some weekend days. In spite of the crowds, it is still a worthwhile place to visit. Make some adjustments to your plans for diving here and your experience will be much more enjoyable. WHAT TO BRING; WHAT NOT […]

Twilight At Hen Rock

A long, dark shadow crept quietly, imperceptibly across the sand flat. The sun was setting behind Catalina Island, the kelp forest was going dark, and I was witnessing an incredible sight. As day turned to night thousands of creatures were returning home, seeking shelter in the rocks and kelp, a safe place to rest. Everywhere I looked there was activity; a bat ray circled lazily, sheep crabs scurried, and fish were disappearing. Sensing the coming darkness, a solitary lobster marched defiantly across the open sand […]

Point Bennett

It was one of those days when you could not help feeling lucky. The sun was out, seas were flat, and there was barely enough wind to make a ripple on the water. This was one of those rare days at San Miguel where we could dive anywhere we wished. Captain Don of the Truth wisely choose to take us to Point Bennett. San Miguel is one of the Northern Channel Islands. Although it is not the largest, it has the notoriety of being the […]

Gunsight Reef

Anacapa Island is actually a string of three small islands. Between East Anacapa and Middle Anacapa the ocean swirls white around jagged rocks. The passage between Middle Anacapa and West Anacapa is different. There are three breaks, the western most, a cobble beach awash at high tide. The eastern break is rough and rocky. In the middle is a rock arch. From the frontside (north) of the island, if you look at just the correct angle, almost due south, you can see through the tunnel […]

Howland’s Landing Drop-Off

Why are divers so fascinated by diving on “walls”? There are multiple answers. First, it is the ready access to deep water which is both mysterious and compelling. Some venture forth, others just gaze into the darkness wondering what may come up from the depths. Also, as you descend along the face of a drop-off you witness, in a short span, the various marine life that is distinctive to that particular depth. But whatever the reason, divers like drop-offs. They are fun and exciting to […]

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