Channel Islands

Bee Rock

In the fall and early winter you can sometimes get to dive sites normally too rough during other times of the year. Because they are rarely visited, they are excellent locations both for photography and game hunting. Bee Rock off the backside of Santa Rosa Island is such a location. In the late winter through the summer, Bee Rock usually is washed over by large swells, both from the prevailing northwest weather and the summer south swells from storms in the tropical Pacific. November and […]

Richardson’s Rock

My suit compressed on the descent, and I compensated for the increasing negative buoyancy with gentle puffs into my BCD. “Touchdown,” I exclaimed in my own brain as my gloved fingers landed on the rock that formed the foundation of massive Richardson’s Rock. Not only had we managed to reach this outpost of outposts on the calmest day of the year, we had also pulled off diving both Wilson’s Rock and Richardson’s Rock on the same dive trip. Life is good. As I moved along […]

Wyckoff Ledge

What a great place to play hide-and-go-seek with a harbor seal! I had equipped my camera for macro photography on this famous California wall dive, but the harbor sea had a different plan. Shy but fun loving, he was going to show me around. I headed for the base of the wall at about 80 feet. The many stars and anemones came alive with colors of red and orange when my light shined on them. Looking up through the remarkably clear waters, I could see […]

Fraser Point

In the ocean realm, it is areas of transition that are most exciting. Currents collide, surf is tossed, animals meet, food and the fed make acquaintance. Fraser Point on Santa Cruz Island is just one such area of the Channel Islands. The entire island of Santa Cruz is a transition zone. Cold waters meet with temperate water species. The mix is dynamic and colorful. At Fraser Point, this mixing reaches its zenith. Fraser Point is a rocky finger of land on the extreme west end […]

Buttonshell Beach

Sometimes the best place to find a new and fun dive spot is when that location is wedged between two popular and frequently visited dive sites. The “in between” location often gets completely overlooked! The shallow reefs to the east of Buttonshell beach is just such a location. To the northwest is Long Point with its exciting deep and shallow reefs off the point and famous moray eels inside the cove. Eastward are the reefs at Hen Rock with many small caves, lobsters, and deeper […]

Inside the Outside Boiler

If you truly want to appreciate a dive site, it’s nice to know how it got its name. Some are obvious, like Three Sisters. Some are not so obvious, like Shag Rock. And others are obvious if you know the back-story. Such is the case with Inside the Outside Boiler. You’ll find this site on the eastern side of Pyramid Cove, which is along the southern edge of San Clemente Island. In the cove, there are a couple of boilers (rocks that break that surface) […]

Bird Rock

No doubt about it, I am still learning in my diving ventures, still exploring. A recent dive on Bird Rock, Catalina Island, drove that home once again. I must have dived this site a hundred times over the last three decades and thought I knew it inside and out, but I was in for a re-education. The dive boat Aquatica anchored in a typical spot near the rocky hump and me and my buddy dressed in. When it was our turn to enter the water, […]

Quail Rock

It was a strange sensation. It was like one minute we were diving the far reaches of the Northern Channel Islands, and the next, we were at Catalina Island. Water temperature had changed little but the marine life most certainly had. We were in the transition zone that often typifies diving Santa Cruz Island. Transition zones are great places to dive. One of the best off California is in the Northern Channel Islands chain, and Santa Cruz Island seems to be ground zero. In this […]

The Rookery

“But it’s just a bunch of sand!!!” That’s the most common complaint that we hear when we’ve done a dive in the Rookery. But that comment comes from people who haven’t explored the full potential of the place. The Rookery IS a sandy area located on the SE corner of Santa Barabra Island, and it’s the place where we get the highest concentration of California Sea Lions. They dot the shoreline, frequently with their pups, and they use this area of the island to navigate, […]

West End Cove

Dropping down through the 60-foot visibility, I was not really paying attention where I was going and almost landed on top of the lingcod, one of my favorite fish in California. If for no other reason than this, West End Cove is becoming one of my favorite dive sites at Anacapa Island. Every time I have dived West End Cove I have encountered one or more lingcod. For lack of a better way of putting it, I find lingcod a “fun” fish for photography. Some […]

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